I was sitting in my house when I heard the unmistakable sounds of hail; the thud of dense balls of ice bouncing off of the pavement, the hollow clunk of metal denting, and the crunch of tempered glass shattering. There was nothing I could do but watch and wait to assess the damage of my car.
Everything can change in the blink of an eye when a severe storm hits. One moment you had a car you could rely on to get you where you need to go. The next everything feels up in the air, but you are not alone.
There is help for when severe weather impacts your life.
First thing is first, stay safe!
Many injuries happen after the storm has passed so watch out for hazards.
- Look out for broken glass and exposed nails.
- Always assume that downed power lines are energized and dangerous. Stay at least 10 feet away and alert the police and utility company.
- If your vehicle is in deep water be careful when restarting, as it may cause irreparable damage to the engine.
- If there is broken glass in your car use caution. If you have access to a shop vac use it to vacuum up the pieces, but take care and wear thick gloves and long sleeves to avoid getting cut.
Next know how your insurance policy works
Insurance protects you if you are in an accident or the unexpected happens. But knowing how it works can sometimes be a challenge. Here are the answers to a few of the most common insurance questions:
- Is my vehicle covered for storm-related damage? If you bought Comprehensive coverage as part of your car insurance policy before the storm, then generally storm damage is covered (you’ll have to pay a deductible).
- Will my insurance rates go up because of storm damage? Just filing a claim doesn’t necessarily mean your rates will go up. But policy rates for an area strongly affected by a storm could see an increase due to the frequency of claims. In this case, even those who don’t file claims may see their rate increase depending on how catastrophe-prone the location is.
- How do I file a claim for storm-related damage? The same way you would report a claim for a car accident. Simply call 1-800-PROGRESSIVE to file your claim 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- What if I can’t tell if the damage is more than my deductible? Even if you’re not sure whether the damage is more than your deductible, it’s still a good idea to file a claim. After you report the claim, a trained representative will inspect the damage and prepare a repair estimate. You’re then free to determine if you want to pursue the claim or not.
Severe weather is often unexpected and can change things instantly. But knowing a few things about what to do when the dust settles can help you get your vehicle repaired and get you back on the road.