From hurricanes and tornadoes to hail, floods and windstorms, severe weather can strike at any time. And even though you can’t control Mother Nature, you can protect your vehicle from potential harm. It’s all about preparation. Here are our top tips for how to prevent storm damage to your car.
Seal up Openings
Heavy rainfall can wreak havoc on your car. Prevent water from getting inside by sealing up any openings in your vehicle. Make sure windows and sunroofs are closed tight and check rubber linings on doors. If they are dried and cracked, replace them.
Test Tire Pressure
If you’re expecting extreme cold temperatures or a blizzard, double-check your tire pressure to ensure it’s at optimum levels. When cold weather hits, pressure drops, which can cause safety issues for your vehicle.
For your vehicle, that is. If you’re wondering where to park your car during a storm, a garage is the best option. It provides safety from most damage caused by rain, hail or high winds.
To protect an uncovered car from a storm, move it into a carport or park it against the side of a house or building where it will get some protection from power lines and tree branches.
If parked in a garage, cover the vehicle with a heavy blanket; if parked outside, use a fitted canvas car cover.
To protect your windshield from hail, use your vehicle’s floor mats. Place them on the windshield, roof or hood, rubber side down.
Inspect Your Car
Before and after a storm, closely examine your car and take detailed photos. That way you’ll have a visual record of what your vehicle looked like before and after it sustained storm damage. These images will come in handy if you have to file an insurance claim.
Drive With Caution
If you must operate a vehicle during a storm, follow these guidelines:
- Avoid low-lying areas, coastal roads and desert washes where flash flooding occurs.
- Never drive through flooded roads, which can damage your vehicle’s engine. As little as six inches of standing water is enough to flood the exhaust. And fast-moving water at only a foot high is powerful enough to carry your vehicle away.
- Stay away from fallen power lines and wooded areas where winds can whip tree branches at high speeds.
Track Weather Conditions
For your safety, and that of your family, keep close tabs on local news and the National Weather Service for storm updates and evacuation protocols.
Check Your Insurance
Make sure your car insurance covers storm damage, specifically from hail or water. If your insurance doesn’t include storm damage, or if you aren’t sure, talk to your Farm Bureau agent to discuss your options. Ask about coverage for rental vehicles, too. In case your car does suffer damage, it’s helpful to have coverage that pays for a loaner vehicle while yours is being repaired.