As spring approaches, many people will begin planning for road trips. After all, most people were confined to home much more during spring 2020 than they will be during spring 2021. Now is the time to get out and see the sights that you couldn’t enjoy fully last year.
Still, one of the hazards of driving during the spring is that weather conditions can often change very quickly, and violently as warming fronts move through your area. Therefore, your car might face significant damage risks from the severe weather that often accompanies these fronts. However, if you have the appropriate car insurance in place, then you will be able to cover the costs of any severe weather damage to your vehicle. Still, this means investing in comprehensive coverage, which might not come standard with every auto policy.
With the help of comprehensive insurance, you’ll be able to repair your vehicle after weather damage occurs. Still, there are plenty of more practical steps you can take to keep your vehicle safe from ever sustaining weather-related damage in the first place.
Weather Threats to Vehicles
Your car is exposed to the elements whether you are on the interstate or in your own driveway. Therefore, when severe weather beckons, your vehicle could come under threat. It might be very hard to protect your vehicle from weather damage scenarios, such as the following:
- Lightning could strike the vehicle, destroying electrical systems or causing fires
- Hail could strike the vehicle, breaking glass or damaging the exterior
- Airborne debris could collide with the vehicle
- Heavy rain might get inside the vehicle causing water damage
- Debris in the roadway could cause risks of tire damage
Any of these hazards could wind up causing thousands of dollars' worth of repair bills as you work to restore a damaged vehicle. Worse still, they could even damage the vehicle beyond repair, and thus put you on the line for an entirely new vehicle. However, as long as you have the right car insurance, you’ll be able to minimize the effects of these losses.
How Car Insurance Covers Weather Damage
One of the critical components of nearly every auto insurance policy is comprehensive physical damage insurance. This is a specific type of coverage that pays for vehicle damage when that damage is not related to a car wreck (collisions are covered under separate coverage called collision insurance). Comprehensive coverage will pay for damage from vehicle fires, vandalism, theft, and yes, severe weather.
Let’s say that during a severe storm, a branch falls on top of your car. There is damage to the glass and the vehicle’s frame. In most cases, your comprehensive insurance will pay to repair the damage.
There are a few limitations to how much help you can get from comprehensive coverage, however.
- If the car is a total loss, the insurance might pay some or all the costs to replace the vehicle. Replacement cost coverage will help you get a new vehicle of equal or lesser value. Actual cash value insurance, however, will only pay the car’s depreciated value at the time of the accident.
- All car insurance policies will come with damage deductibles. The deductible is your responsibility to pay before your insurer covers the rest of a claim. For example, you might have a $500 deductible on $2,000 worth of vehicle damage. Therefore, you’ll pay the $500 up front and your insurance will pay the remaining $1,500.
- If you have damage that is lower than the deductible cost, you’ll have to pay all damage costs out-of-pocket. In some cases, however, certain damage will not be subject to deductibles. For example, glass damage might have no deductible, while body damage still does.
Your insurance agent will be there to help you whenever your vehicle sustains weather damage. Therefore, don’t hesitate to contact them following when such a problem does arise. They’ll be able to verify whether your plan includes the appropriate comprehensive coverage for your losses. Since comprehensive coverage is optional, rather than mandatory, for most drivers, it's important to make sure you add this coverage into your plan for this reason.
Protecting Your Car from Weather Damage
If you have any hints of weather developing, move your car into your garage or carport. If you don’t have a garage, shelter the car as best you can. However, try not to park it under trees, as limbs that break off in the storm could fall on the car. If you have a car cover, this can also act as a shield.
When driving in severe weather, slow down. Speeding is one of the easiest ways to lose control and crash in bad weather. Also make sure your lights, tires and windshield wipers work correctly. The tires might help the vehicle grip wet roads. The lights and wipers will help you maintain visibility. That way you can go on your way with fewer concerns for your safety.
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