Philadelphia skyline

Hurricane Damage in Pennsylvania 

Not many natural disasters are capable of as much widespread destruction as hurricanes. Hurricanes can pack a punch, bringing together a combination of threats such as high winds, sometimes in excess of 100 miles per hour, heavy sustained rains and storm surge that can cause massive, widespread flooding. If you have experienced a storm like this, your vehicle may have hurricane damage.

According to the National Hurricane Center, a hurricane is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour, and a “major hurricane” has sustained winds of 111 or more miles per hour. If you live in a coastal area of a state that borders the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean, your car has most likely been exposed to the risk of damage from this kind of powerful storm.

Call Your Insurance Carrier

If your car has experienced hurricane damage, you should call your insurance carrier as soon as possible. It’s important for you to provide as much detailed information as you can, including pictures, dates, times and locations. In a major storm like a hurricane, you may have lost your insurance policy and carrier contact information. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), if you need assistance contacting your insurance carrier following a hurricane, you can contact them at 800-427-4661.

Steps to Clean and Service Your Car

After a hurricane blows through, the clean-up process can take weeks, months or even years depending on the extent of the destruction that a hurricane has left in its path. Though wind-related damage is common, most damage to vehicles in a hurricane will have resulted from floodwater. Do not attempt to start your car after water has partially or fully submerged the body of your vehicle; further problems can result. Be sure to roll down the windows in order to air out your vehicle once the rain has stopped. Next, it is recommended to have your car towed to an auto service center where a full assessment of the electrical system and engine compartment can be made to determine the extent of the damage.        

Selling Your Hurricane-Damaged Car

After a hurricane, your car may have damage from either wind, water or both. Depending on the force of hurricane winds, your car may have been flipped over, causing glass breakage and other problems. Even if the wind speed alone is not high enough to create damage, flooding is common with hurricanes, causing high floodwaters to submerge a car, resulting in extensive water damage. 

Selling your damaged car after a hurricane is not illegal; however, there are guidelines that are strictly enforced by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot) regarding vehicles that are remarketed after flood damage. After an enhanced safety inspection, the state will retitle your car with a “Flood or Reconstructed Flood Brand.” If you are selling your car with a salvage or flood title, you will need to be prepared to receive a significantly lower amount of money for your vehicle even if it’s a newer car.    

Buying a Replacement Car

You need to be careful when purchasing a replacement vehicle, as there are bound to be storm-damaged vehicles on the market. Be sure to check the reviews of local car dealerships to be certain you’re doing business with a reputable entity. Also, be careful of a price that seems too good to be true. Check for signs of flood damage such as water stains on the upholstery and rust in the trunk and engine compartment. Ask for a third-party report from a service like CARFAX, or obtain your own historical record of the vehicle you are considering using the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). Also, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) offers a free search tool on their website called “VINcheck” to assist consumers in making informed decisions about their next car purchase. 

Final Thoughts on Cars with Hurricane Damage  

If you’ve experienced hurricane damage, or you anticipate loss from an impending storm and you have questions about safeguarding your vehicle, contact Plymouth Rock Assurance. Plymouth Rock offers a truly unique, consultative approach in caring for customers. If you need someone to walk you through the process of getting your claim resolved and back on the road in a replacement vehicle, Plymouth Rock is your go-to expert team for hurricane-damage auto claims. 

You can also read about collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and full-coverage to understand more about coverage options and what protection they have to offer.  In addition, you can learn more about affordable car insurance and get some savings tips to ensure you get the best price. If you would rather have a conversation with someone, call Plymouth Rock today!  

Plymouth Rock Assurance is a marketing name used by a group of separate companies that write and manage property and casualty insurance in multiple states. Insurance in Pennsylvania is underwritten by Palisades Insurance Company, Palisades Property and Casualty Insurance Company and High Point Preferred Insurance Company.

Call 855-993-4470, get your free quote online, or find an agent to learn more about 5 useful tips for new drivers. Visit our contact us page if you need to call us with additional questions.