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You’re watching TV and the local weatherman breaks into the regular programming to alert viewers that Tropical Storm John Doe has turned into Hurricane Harvey and that it’s going to be a doozy! You’ve heard this before and you know the drill. You “batten down the hatches”, you’ve already stocked up on supplies like water, food and batteries. You’ve gathered your important documents (including insurance policies) in case you have to evacuate. You’re all set.

But are you? Yes, your home or business has insurance coverage and maybe even flood insurance. And of course you have auto insurance, but does your auto policy cover everything? Chances are it doesn’t.   Don’t assume that your auto insurance will cover hurricanes!

To better understand your auto insurance needs, here’s a quick overview of the different types of auto insurance.

Liability: defines liability insurance as protection for the driver if they harm a person or their property. It only covers injuries or damages to third parties, not to the driver’s property. Basic liability policies don’t cover damage caused by wind, hail, flood, hurricane or natural disasters.

Comprehensive: Comprehensive coverage protects you for damages not caused by a collision. Generally it covers theft, fire, flood, vandalism, etc. But all comprehensive policies are not the same. Read yours to ensure that you are covered for hurricane damage that includes wind and water.

Gap: Gap insurance covers the difference between what your vehicle is worth and how much you owe on the car. You may want to purchase gap insurance as an added precaution.

Pull out your policy and read it thoroughly. You already have liability insurance as it’s required by law in most states. Do you have full comprehensive that will insure your vehicle in the event of a hurricane with wind and water damage? If not, you will want to purchase it…now! Is your vehicle new or a rental? You may want to investigate purchasing gap insurance.

When is the right time to purchase coverage that will protect your vehicle in the event of a hurricane? The time is now – before a storm is on the horizon. Remember, if a hurricane or tropical storm is on its way, it’s most likely too late to purchase insurance.  Most states have mandatory waiting periods on certain policy types for acts of nature.  Be sure to ask your insurance agent.

Be prepared for hurricanes. Here are some helpful tips to remember:

  • DO keep your gas tank full in case you need to evacuate
  • DO plan to park your car in the garage or carport or on the side of your house that is protected from the wind
  • DO check your tires to ensure they are in good shape
  • DO plan to cover your car with a tarp that is secured to the ground with cinder blocks
  • DON’T park near trees or power poles
  • DON’T start your engine if flood waters have risen up to your engine
  • DO take your car to your mechanic after the storm to have fluids replaced and the vehicle checked overall

Be safe and be prepared to weather the storms this active hurricane season!

This information is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.  Should you have any questions or would like to discuss your risk exposure with your car insurance, please contact the insurance pros at ARCW Insurance.  We are here to help.