Fire or Weather Damage to my Car – What Do I Do?

Car weather damage

Your car has been damaged by a windstorm, tornado, hail, fire or flood:

f you have comprehensive coverage, you should be covered for the cost of repairs, minus your deductible.

If damage is minor (the car is drivable):

  1. Take your car to a body shop and get an estimate.
  2. Decide whether you want to make a claim or absorb the cost yourself, based on the estimate and the amount of your deductible.
  3. Call your insurance company to start a claim (if you have comprehensive coverage).

If damage is major (not drivable):

  1. Don’t try to drive it, if you’re not sure if the car is drivable.
  2. Don’t try to clear debris by yourself.
  3. Call the police or fire department, and they will assess whether the area is safe.
  4. Call your insurance company to start a claim (if you have comprehensive coverage).
  5. Call a tow truck to take your car to a body shop.
Insurance tip

Quick tip: Should I make a claim?

It’s a known fact that certain things like an at-fault accident or traffic ticket will cause you to pay more when you renew your car insurance. But even if you didn’t do anything wrong, you should always think carefully about whether or not you want to file a claim, especially for minor damage to your car or home.

Although insurance companies can’t technically increase your premium for making a claim for a not-at-fault accident, theft, fire or weather damage, multiple small claims could cause you to lose a claims-free discount, your insurer could limit coverage and/or increase your deductible.

In extreme cases, say if you make 3 or more small claims in a short period of time, your insurer may even refuse to renew your policy. If you have $700 damage and a $500 deductible, paying the extra $200 yourself may be well worth it to keep the claim off your record, especially if you’ve made other claims recently.

Who’s going to fix my car?

It’s totally up to you who tows your car, and where you take it for repairs. If you know and trust a service provider that does this kind of work, you can bring your car there, and you usually won’t have a problem. However, if you don’t already have a shop that you trust, there are advantages to using service providers (tow trucks, body shops, car rental agencies etc.) that are on your insurance company’s list of preferred vendors:

Preferred Vendors

  1. The quote you get from the shop is what the insurer will pay. If you go to an independent shop, the insurer could disagree on how much the repairs should cost and you could get stuck paying the difference.
  2. The repairs are guaranteed by the insurer, in case something goes wrong a month later.
  3. The claim usually gets resolved faster. That could save you out-of-pocket costs if you need a rental car and your policy doesn’t cover it, or if you’re only covered for one week’s rental.

FREE Online Quotes For All Your Insurance Needs! Get a Quote