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Hurricane Irene Impacts Your Auto Insurance

Allstate alone reported over 500 claims within 24 hours of Hurricane Irene assaulting the east coast, and the total damage is estimated at nearly $12 billion. The irregular flooding and numbers of natural disaster claims will have an effect on rates, and has left many living in areas not prone to floods struggling to find out if they're covered.

 
   

Cars, Insurance, and Natural Disasters

Once an area is hit with a natural disaster, rates will naturally rise since that occurrence means a higher likelihood of future occurrences; therefore, more people are going to make claims from that area. Live in a Northeastern state? From Delaware to Vermont, your premiums are likely to rise because of this unprecedented flooding and potential for damage to your vehicle. Worse, scientists agree that Irene is probably a phenomenon related to climate change, which means we can expect a repeat of Irene's push into the Northeast.

Since there is nothing you can do to avoid these raised rates other than leaving the area, you can try to mitigate this increase by lowering your monthly premium in other ways, such as making yourself look better to the agency by improving your credit, remaining a loyal customer, and maintaining a good driving record. You can also consider raising your deductible.

What To Do In A Natural Disaster

Catastrophes of nature are becoming more and more common as years go by, so you had better be prepared. Use these tips to protect yourself.

Take Photos And Protect The Scene

If your car is damaged by a natural occurrence like a hurricane, the first thing to do is to treat the area like a crime scene and avoid moving anything so the insurance agency can inspect the damage. Take photos of the scene so that you have an undeniable record in case you have a dispute with the car insurance company.

Contact Your Insurer

In a natural disaster many people will be contacting the agency simultaneously, which will make the process take significantly longer, but it's important that you report damage as soon as possible, and the earlier you make the claim, the higher on the list you'll be for processing.

Protect Against Secondary Damage

Secondary damage occurs as a result of the initial damage. For example, if your car window is broken from the hurricane, your car insurance company will cover that damage. However if you don't cover the window with plastic and subsequent rains ruin the vehicle's interior, that will not be covered.

Know What Your Policy Covers

Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle against damage from more than just other vehicles and likely includes flooding and other natural disasters, so make sure you check with your agency to get your money's worth. If you live in an area with high risk of hurricanes, you are likely already covered in either your auto or home insurance policy. However, if you only have liability coverage and your homeowner's insurance won't cover it, you're not going to get any help.

Ultimately, all of these tips can be put under knowledge (of your claim) and discipline (to act quickly). If you know what your policy covers, how natural disasters affect insurance premiums, and how to deal with the damage, you're in the best position possible.

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