Storing Vehicles During a Hurricane
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With warm weather quickly approaching, those of us living in hurricane-prone regions begin thinking of what to do in the event a storm approaches.
Over the past few years, we have learned that the best course of action is to get out of harm’s way. In other words, if you are in the path of an oncoming hurricane, the best course of action is to evacuate. But, what if you have more than one car? Should you take all your vehicles, or leave them behind?
Take One Vehicle
Since your neighbors, relatives and friends also need to evacuate, take only one of your vehicles to escape the storm. That way you will help prevent traffic jams at intersections and traffic lights on the evacuation route. In addition, fuel may be running short, so taking just one of your cars helps everyone else fuel up and get out of the storm’s way.
What to Do With Vehicles Left Behind?
It’s a good idea to take photographs of the interior and exterior of any cars, trucks, RVs or other vehicles that you leave behind. Digital cameras allow for time/date stamps that help you prove the condition of your vehicle before the storm came.
Park vehicles in enclosed spaces if possible. If not, find high ground and make sure to keep them away from trees and utility poles that may fall over during high wind conditions. Be sure that you have set the emergency brake on all vehicles. If you have a cargo carrier, such as the type on a flatbed truck, chock the wheels. Close all the windows and lock the car. Apply masking tape to all your car windows to make for an easier cleanup in the event that flying debris breaks a window. Take car keys, title and registration documents with you.
If time permits, check all fluid levels, make sure tires are filled to the right pressure, and some fuel is in the car to help you get moving once the danger has passed.
Should You Use Second Vehicles for Storage?
Take valuables such as cash, jewelry and important documents with you. Hurricanes make and follow their own routes, so despite all possible precautions, your vehicle may suffer damage up to and including a total loss. So, it’s really up to you, but storing items in a vehicle that you leave behind or in your home probably have the same odds of getting through the storm safely.
After the Storm Passes
After the evacuation order has been lifted and you return home, use extreme caution when driving in the areas the storm went across. When you move your stored vehicles, as well as the one you drove away in, avoid driving through standing water since you have no idea of the depth of the water. And water may conceal downed power lines that you can’t see.
Often, second cars are paid off, and you may have let comprehensive insurance coverage lapse since lenders don’t require it. Consider adding comp coverage to keep your family’s transportation needs met following a hurricane.