How to prepare your car for a hurricane

If you're leaving your car behind, you have a few options as far as where to park your car, such as your garage, a public parking structure, or other location safe from floodwaters and windblown debris. If you're evacuating, then you should ensure you, your family, and your car are ready to go with everything you need to safely leave the area.

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How to store your car during a hurricane

If you plan to store your car for the duration of the storm, you should park it somewhere safe from windblown debris and flooding. If your garage has proven safe in past storms, that might be your best option.

If not, then you should find a building or other covered structure where you can park your car. A public parking garage or other indoor parking structure may be a good option. However, remember that the further away from home you park, the harder it may be to get to after the storm.

Important note: Wherever you park your car, make sure it's far from power lines or trees, which can easily blow over in high winds.

What to pack in your car if you're evacuating

If evacuation is likely, you should ensure you and your car are ready to go. Start by:

  • Preparing an evacuation route and filling up the tank
  • Storing a basic disaster kit or emergency supply kit in your trunk, including food, water, clothing, cash, and other essentials
  • Ensuring your windshield wipers and tires are in good shape
  • Placing all important documents in a waterproof bag and taking them with you
  • Charging your cell phone and packing a charger for the car and travel
  • Packing a paper map in case you lose your phone and your car doesn't have its own navigation system

Safety tips for driving in a hurricane

  • Avoid driving through deep water: As little as 12 inches of moving water can sweep the average car off the road. Plus, deep water can hide debris that may damage your vehicle. Try to find an alternate route.
  • Drive slowly and cautiously: Avoid speeding so you have time to react to changing weather conditions and road hazards.
  • Know how to steer out of a skid: If your car starts skidding, take your feet off the gas and brake, then turn the steering wheel in the direction you want to go. As the vehicle returns to the direction you want to go, you'll likely need to turn in the opposite direction to finally stop the skid and continue driving straight.
  • Abandon your car if necessary: If you become trapped in rising water and can't restart your car, immediately abandon it for higher ground. If you cannot get out safely, call 911 or get help from a passerby or someone on higher ground.

What to do if your car is damaged by a hurricane

If you have comprehensive coverage on the vehicle, then your insurance may help pay for repairs or to replace it. If your car is totaled, your insurer will cut you a check for the actual cash value of the vehicle, minus your deductible, which you can use to buy a new car.

Plan ahead for safety

Hurricane season runs from June through November every year. Reviewing your emergency preparations at the beginning of the season is good, so you're ready in case a storm hits. Learn more hurricane preparedness tips including how to prepare your home for a hurricane and how to prepare your boat for a hurricane.

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