If your car was damaged in a hurricane, what’s the next step? If your vehicle was at home, for instance, and a tree fell on it, what coverage applies? If you lost control and ran off the road, how are you covered? What about water damage?
These questions are pretty straight-forward, but they can be harsh, too. If you have “other-than collision” coverage, also called “comprehensive” coverage, on your auto policy, then you should have coverage for storm events that cause property damage, whether the vehicle is just damaged or totaled. If the vehicle was at home, you might think that your homeowners’ policy applies, but without some unusual, additionally-purchased coverage, it’s nearly always going to be your auto policy.
Remember that this is what’s called a “first-party” claim, so your own insurance company has to pay a lot more by the book than if you were dealing with someone’s negligence. They still don’t have to replace your vehicle if it’s totaled (unless you have an unusual policy provision that requires that), and they can still repair your vehicle so long as the cost of repairs and any supplemental claims (rental, loss of value) don’t exceed 75% of the pre-damage fair market value of the vehicle. There are also exceptions to some of these types of claims, typically spelled out in the “exclusions” part of your personal automobile policy.
If you were hit by someone else, that can be a tricky analysis, so contact a lawyer to see what your rights are and how to proceed.
Sadly, if you don’t have collision coverage, you may be out of luck. That’s not always the case, but it is common.
If your auto insurance company tells you that you don’t have coverage, tell them to send you the explanation in writing, and make them go over the policy provisions with you carefully so that you understand the facts. If you do have coverage and they claim you don’t, or if they won’t work with you, then you may have a bad faith claim, and you’ll need a lawyer to help with that. The insurance and personal injury lawyers at the Miller Law Group have over 50 years of experience with handling claims like this. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your claim. You can also call 919-348-4361.