RICHMOND, Va. — What’s covered by your insurance if a tree falls on your car or it gets flooded out?
Experts at AAA suggest gathering all of your insurance documents ahead of time. Take pictures of them as well to have easy access.
While you have your camera out, snap pictures of everything, including your house and car, before the storm hits. Then be sure to document if there is any damage.
“Pictures are always wonderful for an insurance company, and the more information you have before, during and after a claim will always help,” AAA insurance counselor Rebecca Schafer said.
The type of water that hits your home will affects which insurance policy you’ll have to file under.
“What I like to tell my clients is that if the water is coming down, hurricane, tornado, wind-driven rain, most of that wind coverage is going to come from your homeowner’s insurance,” Schafer said. “As soon the water that hits the ground and becomes excess groundwater, rising water then you have flood insurance issues. Flood instance is managed by FEMA.”
When going through your car insurance policy, keep an eye out for “comprehensive” or “other than collision coverage.”
“For any hurricane-related issues are going to come from comprehensive, sometimes called other than collision coverage,” Schafer said. So that’s where you’re going to get coverage for any flooding, water damage, wind.”
If rainwater gets into your car – get it out as soon as you can.
“It can get into the little cracks and crevices, each one of these are a seal on it,” said Brent Stegner, the Car Car Manager at the AAA location in Richmond’s Scott’s Edition. “Your doors have seals, your lights have seals and when the seal breaks down the water gets in. You can usually tell the water’s in there for a musty smell.”
Water can also get into your lights. You’ll be able to see evaporated droplets on the glass or plastic.
Even six inches of water on the road can cause serious issues. That’s about a third of the way up on an average tire.
“It doesn’t take much and once you get turning, once you get in that water, you get in trouble,” Stegner said. “The tires, they have air in them. What happens is, the water just gets underneath it and picks it up and moves it out of the way.”
Stegner urges drivers to turn around – don’t drown.
There’s also time to get a home disaster kit together in case of an outage.
“Think about when your power goes out, kind of think about it like camping. You’re really going to be in a situation where you’re not going to have those luxuries at home,” said Tammy Arnette, AAA Senior Public Affairs Specialist.
You’ll need things like flashlights, maps and non-perishable food. Also, be sure to grab a few backpacks in case you need to evacuate the area.
“People don’t think about is if you have to evacuate some of those things that you have been preparing for that you have at home for the impending storm, you may need to take with you,” Arnette said. “You may have want to have a grab bag for each person in your house. And don’t forget your pets.”
Click here for a checklist of items for a home disaster kit.