Halloween wasn’t such a treat for a lot of Americans.
Many saw harsh weather strike several regions of the U.S., with reports of strong winds in Ohio and flash flooding in Texas.
Insurance organizations in both states issued consumer advisories to policyholders reminding them of what kind of coverage they’ll need to rely on if they are an unfortunate victim of the recent inclement weather.
Ohio Confirms Tornadoes
According to the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII), Halloween storms brought winds to the Buckeye State that hit up to 60 mph; two tornadoes were confirmed, one in Montgomery County and another in Miami County.
Strong winds raked the entire region, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reporting winds so strong that they downed trees that damaged vehicles. One report of car damage from a tree originated in Franklin, Ind. In another report, the NOAA said that a tree fell across State Route 46 in Ripley, Ind. “and onto [a] vehicle.”
In Ohio, the NOAA reported that a “large healthy three-foot diameter tree” fell near State Route 62 and the I-71 in Columbus during the early morning hours of Nov. 1.
Texas Rains Cause Flood Flooding Along I-35 Corridor
Texas was soaked with heavy rainstorms to begin the week that intensified with the arrival of Halloween on Thursday.
According to a NOAA report, flash flooding on Oct. 30 in Pflugerville, Texas left “four feet of water over the road” in which “cars [were] swept off the road.” The flooding prompted two “water rescues” at Grand Avenue Parkway in Pflugerville.
Comprehensive Coverage Valuable for Weather Protection
The OII offers a number of consumer tips for policyholders who have to deal with wind and rain damage to their vehicles.
- Closely inspect the car for damage.
- Photograph any damage and inventory losses, especially if heavy, widespread damage has occurred.
- Secure property from further damage or theft (save receipts and provide to your insurer).
- Contact your insurance agent regarding coverage clarification and damage assessment regarding a potential claim.
- Consider obtaining a written repair estimate prior to filing a claim as repair costs may not exceed your deductible. If the loss amount is close to your deductible, you might consider absorbing the loss on your own.
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) offered similar tips:
- Contact your agent or insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim
- Take photographs or videos
- Itemize damaged property (a checklist is available here)
Texas car insurance policyholders who want to file a claim for their flooded car would turn to the comprehensive coverage portion of their policy that covers water damage.
Ohio car insurance policyholders would rely on the same comprehensive coverage, which covers all weather-related damage.
Michael Barry, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute (III), told Online Auto Insurance that agents sell the coverage as a valuable form of protection that can cover a policyholder against instances of fire, theft as well as weather-related damage.
But maybe agents don’t have to sell so hard; the III estimates that about 3 out of every 4 policyholders in the U.S. has comprehensive coverage.
According to Barry, the intense flooding of Superstorm Sandy brought the value of comprehensive coverage into full focus.
“We had instances where boats landed on cars,” Barry told OAI. “And that’s covered under comprehensive, since it’s deemed a falling object just like a tree is.”