What To Do With a Damaged Car After a Hurricane in Florida
October 21, 2022 | Sagi Shaked | Car Accidents
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that 2022 will have at least ten hurricanes and is predicted to be one of the worst hurricane seasons in history. If your car is damaged during a storm, you will need to know what to do.
Here, we provide you with information to help you protect your rights and property interests.
Hurricanes, Moratoriums, and Insurance
Some insurance companies will put a halt on making new insurance policies when a hurricane is expected in the area soon. These moratoriums may also prevent existing policyholders from adjusting their current insurance coverage. For example, a moratorium may prevent you from adding coverage or decreasing your deductible.
The Florida Department of Financial Services says that comprehensive or Other than Collision insurance covers hurricane-related damages caused by:
- Falling objects
Common deductible amounts for comprehensive insurance are $250, $500, or $1,000. However, this coverage is optional in Florida, so you may not have it.
To file a claim with your auto insurance carrier, you will want to take notes and pictures of the damage. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to initiate the claims process and support your claim in writing.
Keep in mind you may still be on the hook for some of the expenses. For example, a rental car might not be covered unless you have specifically added this coverage to your policy.
Without comprehensive insurance in place, any hurricane-related damage you sustain will be your responsibility. Government agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or nonprofit organizations may help with financial relief.
When You May Need a Lawyer for Help With Your Property Damage Claim
After a hurricane, insurance companies are sometimes bombarded with claims. They may try to minimize payouts to protect their bottom line. You may need a lawyer to help protect your interests if any of the following situations arise:
Your Claim Is Denied
If your vehicle sustained hurricane-related damages, you had comprehensive insurance, and your insurance claim is denied, an experienced lawyer can help.
Your lawyer can review your insurance policy and communicate with the claims adjuster on your behalf to pursue the coverage to which you are entitled. An experienced lawyer will also know when bad faith insurance practices are in play and how to hold the insurance company accountable for its misconduct.
The Appraisal Is Too Low
Overworked insurance adjusters may make clerical errors or assign arbitrary values to claims in a rush to process them all. If your vehicle’s value has been assessed too low, you can dispute this finding. An experienced lawyer can also connect you with a third-party appraiser to further support your claim.
The Car Was Flooded But Still Starts
Sometimes, cars are damaged in hurricanes by flooding. Water can seep into a vehicle and cause damage to the internal workings of the vehicle. Internal instruments or computers might sustain damages, but you may be unaware of the issue at first. Your car may even continue to start.
It may not be until a few days or weeks later that you notice mechanical problems with your vehicle. However, if your claim is delayed, the insurance company may question why you waited. An experienced lawyer can help you document the damage and file a claim.
The Insurance Company Is Not Responding
While insurance companies may be handling a number of claims following a natural disaster, they still have a duty to respond in a timely manner to your claim and keep you updated on the status of your claim.
Contact an Attorney for Assistance If Your Car Was Damaged in a Hurricane in Florida
If you are involved in any of these situations or have questions regarding a claim, reach out to an experienced lawyer for help.