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How Florida’s Weather Affects Your Car Insurance

From hurricanes to extreme humidity, Florida’s weather can be unpredictable and dangerous. The subtropical climate offers residents a rainy season, thunderstorms, mild winters and hot summers. In addition, tropical cyclones, hurricanes and floods are a part of living in this state. Unfortunately, all of these conditions can affect your car insurance rates in Florida.

Hurricanes Leave Damage and Raise Rates

When Hurricane Irma hit Florida in 2017, it caused a considerable amount of destruction. The category 5 hurricane forced millions of residents in Florida to evacuate, but they returned to catastrophic damage worth $50 billion. The total cost makes Hurricane Irma one of the most expensive natural disasters to affect the state.

The combination of strong winds, rain, floods and storm surges contributed to problems throughout Florida. In the aftermath, people lost their homes and cars. Looting, burglaries and other issues also caused additional concerns. All of these things can affect insurance rates.

USA Today reports that it is difficult to predict the exact amount that insurance rates will increase. It is possible that both car and home insurance rates will go up after the devastation in Florida. In addition, people in other states may feel this impact by seeing higher insurance bills as companies try to spread things out and recoup their losses. Insurance companies have to pay out billions to affected individuals, so they eventually raise the rates to make some of the money back.

Floods and Insurance

Most of Florida is at or near sea level, so flooding is a constant problem. Whether there is a string of heavy thunderstorms or a tropical cyclone, rain has become a normal part of residents’ lives. Unfortunately, it also affects insurance rates.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management explains that flooding is one of the most frequent hazards in the state. Since it is so common, insurance companies charge people who live in flood-prone areas more to have coverage. Most people assume that this only affects their home insurance, but it also has an impact on your car insurance rates. Companies look at your zip code and where your car is garaged to determine the rate you pay.

Finding Affordable Car Insurance

Your auto insurance rates can vary significantly based on the company you use. For example, the cheapest average annual premium is from USAA at $967, and the most expensive average annual premium is from Dairyland at $6,010. Although a spike in insurance rates may affect everyone after natural disasters, you can still shop around for cheaper auto insurance coverage and look for better deals.

You may not be able to control the weather in Florida, but you can manage driving habits and other things. For instance, good drivers who avoid DUIs, accidents and traffic tickets can save money. Not having any traffic tickets can mean an average of $523 in savings. Avoiding accidents can add up to $672 in savings, and a good credit score can save you $1,666. You can use online tools to keep track of your credit score, and invest in a free app to avoid collisions on the road.  

Preparing Your Insurance for Hurricanes

If you choose to continue to live in Florida, you know that you cannot escape every hurricane that may come in the future. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prepare and make surviving a natural disaster easier. As you stock on emergency kits and make other changes, consider looking at your car insurance policy.

First, make sure you have comprehensive auto insurance coverage that covers natural disasters like floods and hurricanes. In general, comprehensive coverage applies to weather-related events. Keep in mind that cars can suffer in a variety of ways during a storm, such as from wind or water damage. A tree branch can fall and crush your vehicle, or a large item can hit your car. Exposure to saltwater can cause corrosion and rust.

Before a storm hits, you should have comprehensive coverage. Contact a trusted damage restoration company as soon as possible if you experience water damage. The sooner you act, the less chance there is for further damage to occur. In most cases, you will not be able to get prior coverage for damage that occurred in the past. It is important to remember that car insurance may not cover everything. You will have to pay a deductible, and most policies only give replacement cost value. This means that the amount of money you get back may not be enough to pay for everything.

In general, filing a claim can lead to a higher insurance rate. Most companies do not penalize comprehensive claims as much as they do collision claims. This means that filing a claim for weather damage should lead to a smaller rate increase compared to a claim for an accident on a highway.

Florida’s weather can range from beautiful to deadly. If you own a car, the storms can affect your rates in this state. Make sure you keep your policies up to date and have comprehensive car coverage for any damage.

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