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CARSTAR’s experts offer advice to help vehicle owners deal with unusual winter storms, before and after.
Hailstorms often work their way across the country, leaving totaled, dented and damaged vehicles in their wake. Nationwide, the number of hail claims in 2016 jumped 48 percent to more than 965,000, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
As a proactive measure, CARSTAR North America advises vehicle owners to ask themselves three questions:
- Is your vehicle prepared to face the weather?
- Have you reviewed your insurance to ensure you can recover from any damage?
- And if it happens, how can you get your vehicle restored without putting a dent in your wallet?
CARSTAR’s experts offer the following advice to help vehicle owners deal with unusual winter storms, before and after.
Check Your Coverage
The time to review your car insurance is not when the weatherman is delivering bad news that storms are on the way. Read your policy now to understand what is covered, what the deductibles are, if you have rental coverage and what to do when the storm hits.
Comprehensive coverage protects against most damage from weather and natural disasters. Two other options to consider are gap coverage – which pays the difference between what you owe on your loan and what your car is worth – and rental reimbursement.
One warning: If you submitted a previous damage claim and received a check from your insurance company but didn’t have the vehicle repaired, the insurance company will deduct this amount from your estimate for the storm damage and charge a second deductible too.
Protect Your Vehicle
When you know that a storm is on the way, get your vehicle under cover. For hailstorms, cover your car in an old blanket and a car cover from your local automotive retailer – before the storm hits. This will provide some protection for your hood, roof and rear decklid.
If a storm comes up quickly, look for an awning at a service station, a drive-through at a bank or a self-serve car wash to get under for immediate protection. But always make your personal safety a priority.
Get Your Car Repaired without Despair
Dealing with the aftermath of a big storm can be traumatic, particularly if you’ve had significant damage to your home or your entire area. Getting your car back up and running shouldn’t add to your stress, if you’re prepared.
To help with the process, CARSTAR offers the following tips:
- Make copies of your vehicle registration, title, insurance card and driver’s license before the storm hits and secure in a safe, dry place.
- After the storm clears, record the damage with photos and video. Sketch what happened, including street names, road signs and details on car movements.
- Identify any witnesses. Get their names, addresses, phone numbers and their recollection of the storm damage.
- Have a collision plan in place. Know where you’d like to have your car repaired ahead of time so you don’t have to make a sudden decision.
- Collect your personal items. Whether your car is being towed in for repairs or totaled out, make sure you’ve collected your valuables, electronics, vehicle information, sports equipment and any other items you may need in the future.