Vehicles are as prone to damage due to flooding and hail and other natural disasters as your other immovable assets are. Hence auto insurance companies have the provision to provide with cover for damage due to such natural calamities.
Its imperative for you as a motor car owner to sign up for an insurance policy which covers natural calamities and disasters in order to protect your own interests, a few dollars spent on insurance is well worth it when compared to the possible repair costs. It seems impossible for hail to damage your car, but there are thousands of documented cases where hailstones up to 1.5 inches in diameter have damaged cars, if you live in the tropics, you need not worry about hail, but you should be wary of flooding.
Do not take damage to your vehicle lightly in the event of a natural disaster, and always survey your vehicle. A small chip in the glass caused by a hailstone can now pass unnoticed; however this small chip in the glass has probably weakened it more than you think. Your glass on a later date can develop a crack because of the weak point caused by the hail. Shattered glass is another thing to be wary of, if your glass shatters, don’t use the car anymore, even if it doesn’t hinder your view, a vehicle on which you want to make a claim should not be used until your auto insurance company sends their controller over to access the damage.
In flood prone areas most people don’t get the vehicle checked when there is slight water collection, the fact is that if the water level reaches up to the height of your tail pipe, your ought to get your car checked. Water can enter your engine chambers through the tailpipe under certain circumstances, and this is disastrous for your engine, you could even end up with a seized engine that wont start anymore.
Note down damage, no matter how small it can be, a broken taillight can get you a traffic violation which can in turn adversely affect your auto insurance premium for the next five years, its easier to get it fixed now under your cover. Take pictures whenever possible, pictures count as evidence, which can be essential for you later.
Call your insurance company, inform them of the damage, and ask them what your future course of action should be. Never delay calling your insurance company, many companies have a deadline after which they will not entertain your claim; to an auto insurance company a delay in filing the claim can be linked to possible manipulation of damages.
Your next step will be to take your vehicle to the repair center for an estimate. Some insurance companies ask you for one quote from a specific workshop, others request two or three quotes. The point to remember is that while getting the repairs done, an insurance company can suggest where you should get the work done; they can not insist that you get the work done there. Its best to check with your company how they deal with such circumstances, as each company has its own way of functioning.
When the adjuster comes over, be as co-operative as you can, don’t try to push him to get you a bigger pay out, and be courteous and volunteer all the information; although you need to be careful of what you say, statements like “I think”, and “this is probably what happened”, can get you into a great mess.