Getting stuck in a storm can instantly cause severe damage to your vehicle. Extreme weather conditions like shattering storms, hail, and the occasional earthquake are something that South Africans have to deal with at certain times throughout the year. But what do we do when Mother Nature takes to our vehicles?
Most car insurance companies have policies in place for these exact events. But how do we know which policy to choose or when to claim?
Here are a few facts and tips that will make storm damage less intimidating and help you compare car insurance options in South Africa.
Does Car Insurance Cover Weather Damage?
Seeing a tree on top of your car can be a shocking sight, and that might be the first image we think of when the term “storm damage” arises. But there’s a variety of car damage that can be caused by unforeseen weather changes.
If your car has been hit with floodwaters, this might affect your electrics. Lights, blinkers, and all other electrical components of your vehicle might be rendered unusable and will have to be replaced or repaired.
Electrical damage is usually fully covered by comprehensive coverage, which will carry some of the costs.
Damage under the bonnet can be caused by many different incidents, but during a storm, it’s mostly affected by water and debris.
Engine damage can either happen when rising water hits a parked car, or a driver tries to brave the floodwater. The latter will affect your claim, so it’s better to stay put during a storm.
Sand Damage Claim
A jarring sand storm can cause significant damage to the exterior of any vehicle. Chipped and scratched paint and glass, wheels and rims, and even rubber trims can all be damaged beyond repair.
Sand damage to your vehicle is covered under comprehensive coverage. Having sufficient comprehensive coverage in place can significantly relieve the headache of sand damage.
Typical signs of damage to look out for:
- Painted surfaces and panels
- Exterior trims like handles and mirrors
- Lighting components, including LED strips
- Windows, especially the windshield
- Rubber trims
- Wheels and tyre wear
- Mechanical damage like the radiator and oil cooler
- Erosion on the suspension and brakes
Progressive Hail Damage
Certain areas of the country are more prone to excessive hail storms. This can result in broken windshields, dents, and an array of other damages to your vehicle. Hail damage will result in repairs or even total damage to the vehicle meaning that the vehicle is damaged beyond repair. This unforeseen act of nature can significantly deplete your bank account if not prepared for.
However, hail damage is easy to claim for under the right coverage plan. But, how do we prevent our cars from being harmed by hail?
Here are a few tips on how to weather the storm safely.
The first, and best, line of defence will be covered or underground parking. A secured parking spot will reduce the amount of damage, and save money down the line. Having covered parking will not only reduce the odds of damage but will overall lower the monthly premium of your insurance.
If you don’t have access to a permanent covered parking spot, it may be a good idea to invest in hail covers or blankets for your vehicle. Having them at the ready at all times will help reduce the damage and the possible progressive hail damage claim.
Does Car Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage
Getting stuck in hurricane-like conditions can be very jarring, but even more so if you’re a car owner. Hurricane weather that results in damages can be very costly to cover out of pocket. Therefore, having the right coverage plan in place is crucial.
When To Get Hurricane Coverage
Some areas in the country are more prone to hurricane-like weather conditions. Securing the right coverage can significantly lower the risk of having crippling costs down the line.
Buying hurricane coverage in the heart of a storm season can result in an unsuccessful claim. Securing the correct coverage well in advance will ensure that your vehicle is fully covered in the event of freak-storms or any kind of windy weather. However, each insurance company has a different set of regulations that need to be looked at before deciding on settling for a policy.
When Your Car Floods
It is common for a vehicle to sustain some level of water damage in the event of a high storm. Luckily, most comprehensive car insurance policies will cover water damage and floods inflicted on the vehicle.
Before contacting the insurance company, assess the damage as thoroughly as possible. Switch on the vehicle if the conditions seem safe, and take note of the electrical components. Photograph the interior and exterior of the vehicle, including the windshield, wipers, paint and trim, and jot down any damages.
If the car is in driving condition, take the vehicle to a local, licensed mechanic and have a full assessment of the damages done.
If the car is repairable, the insurance company will, more often than not, cover the cost of repairs in full. If the car has sustained total damage, i.e. written off, the insurance coverage will pay for a temporary replacement vehicle and carry some of the costs towards a new vehicle.
How Will Storm Damage Affect My Premium?
Typically, comprehensive cover claims won’t have the same impact on your record as a collision claim. However, a storm damage claim will still increase the monthly premium.
After a set number of years, declared in the agreement, the comprehensive claim may be wiped off your permanent record. This will result in the monthly premium to decrease once again if there are no other comprehensive claims on file.
Final Thoughts on Storm Damage
Unforeseen weather damages can deliver a crippling blow to the uninsured car owner. Being sufficiently covered is a very important part of car ownership.
Shopping around for comprehensive coverage is the best way to ensure that you have the best deal. Coverage options vary depending on the insurer, and having the coverage that is best for you, is key to saving money.