What Happens When Your Car Is Damaged in a Storm or Hurricane in Louisiana?
Ah, the beautiful Bayou State! That is, except for those storms. Storm damage to your car can range from just annoying to extremely dangerous — and it’s almost always expensive.
So, what happens if your car is damaged in a storm or hurricane in Louisiana? We’ve got some solid tips to help you through this rough patch, including how to make your car insurance work for you when your vehicle is damaged by events outside of your control.
Did Flooding Affect Your Car?
First, you will want to assess the damage to your car. Acting quickly is key. Did the storm cause flooding that affected your car?
Saltwater is a natural enemy of cars, and the longer your car is subjected to it, the worse the situation is likely to get. Immediately start to dry out your car, but make sure to do so safely. Some of the steps you may think of taking right away could pose safety risks.
Find a mechanic that you trust (ideally one with whom you already have a good working relationship) to help you. Even something like starting your car could cause more damage if it has been flooded. Most cars these days are full of electronics, and water and electricity do not mix. Get your mechanic’s advice when trying things like opening or closing the electric windows, testing the radio or sound system, or trying out other electronic parts of your car.
Does Your Car Insurance Cover Storm Damage to Your Car From a Storm or Hurricane in Louisiana?
If you carry liability insurance only, your car will not be covered for storm damage under your car insurance. Liability insurance (sometimes known as state-required insurance) is designed to protect you in the event that you get into a car accident that is your fault. It pays for property damage to the other car (up to the limits of the policy) as well as medical bills in case someone in the other car is injured (once again, up to the limits of the policy).
Unless you have comprehensive insurance on your car, you can find yourself up a creek (sorry, pun intended) if you have water damage from a storm. Living in Louisiana comes with some wonderful benefits, but it also comes with some specific risks with respect to driving in severe weather and protecting yourself financially in the event of a major storm or flooding.
Does Your Homeowners or Renters Insurance Cover Storm Damage to Your Car?
The short answer is maybe. You might be able to cover the damage to your car — especially if it was parked on your property or at your apartment’s location at the time — depending on the details of your homeowner’s insurance plan. Check with your insurance agent as soon as possible for more details.
How Should You Document the Damage to Your Car From a Storm or Hurricane in Louisiana?
Even if you aren’t positive if you have insurance that will cover the storm damage to your car, start documenting everything you can. Grab a camera (your smartphone will do nicely) and start taking pictures immediately. The more you can show exactly what the damage is, the better off you will be. Make sure to take pictures of the entire car, including the exterior, interior, trunk, and engine.
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. They will be able to answer your questions about coverage, and you can provide them with copies of the photos if you do have coverage that can help. Make sure to keep copies of the photos for your records. Find out their preferred method for receiving photos. Some companies simply want you to email them, others have a specific online portal they will want you to use. Follow all the insurance company’s specific advice to make the process as smooth as possible.
The good news is that if they offer insurance in Louisiana, your insurance company will be well versed in not only protecting their customers who live in the Bayou State but also in knowing how to handle natural disasters and the water damage that they leave behind them.
Next, figure out new (at least temporary) transportation. In the wake of a major disaster, even if you have good car insurance, it may take a long time to get up and running with new wheels. Look at your options for getting to and from necessary locations in the meantime.
Should You Repair or Replace Your Vehicle After a Storm?
It all depends on what the numbers tell you. Depending upon the age and condition of your car, it may be worth it to repair your vehicle. On the other hand, you should be able to get at least some money by selling it, and you could put that toward a new ride, so if it is badly damaged, this may be the best route. Yes, there is a market for damaged vehicles! A local salvage yard may well be interested in buying your car. Be careful to get more than one quote if you decide to go this route. Even if your car is “junked,” you will want to get as much money out of it as you still can.
How Can You Make Sure You Are Ready for the Next Storm?
They say that hindsight is 20/20, and they’re right. Turn this to your advantage! Once you have weathered this storm, continue to educate yourself and meet with an insurance professional to discuss what insurance coverage makes the most sense for your situation.
You will want to look closely at what types and amounts of coverage could be helpful to you through your auto insurance, homeowners insurance, and renters insurance. Give yourself the gift of peace of mind that you will be in better shape for the next storm.