Hurricane Irma is fast approaching mainland Florida, and you should take every precaution to protect yourself and your property. In fact, the state has issued a mandatory evacuation order for all Broward residents east of Federal Highway. You should begin to immediately take steps to protect your home, like setting up shutters, bringing in outdoor furniture, and stocking up on water and instant meals. Even if you’re outside the evacuation zone, you may wish to relocate to a designated hurricane shelter before the weekend! Always protect life over property!
Without a reliable source of transportation, you cannot get to work or school. Hurricane Irma will likely cause devastating floods as it tears down trees, roof tiles, and other debris. Fortunately, you can take very practical steps to protect your car and ensure your insurance policy covers any damages.
Just as we’d recommend taking pictures right after an accident, you should take some now and in the aftermath of the hurricane. Photos can give you direct evidence to verify and expedite claims from an insurer for storm related damages. Capture shots of the interior and all angles of the exterior body. Be sure to safely and securely store these photos in a cloud or somewhere digitally so they cannot become destroyed by the hurricane themselves.
Many people make a habit of keeping important files stored away in their car’s console or glove box, for instance, your vehicle registration, insurance records, and important receipts. Remove these and safely bring them indoors, preferably in a lock box and in a sealed zip lock bag. You might want to also to laminate them or scan and upload digital copies. In case of flooding, you don’t want these documents destroyed or, worse, stolen! Make additional copies of your car keys and give them out to every licensed driver, since you may need to make a prompt evacuation or runs for supplies.
Everyone is already scrambling to fill their vehicles with lines crawling out into the streets! It may seem a hassle for you to find an open pump, but don’t procrastinate! You need a full tank of gas in the event of a state ordered evacuation. If Irma remains a strong category 5 on its current trajectory, it will significantly affect all of Florida! You don’t want to drive through flooded waters, and you should never drive through an active storm. Take steps now to ensure you can get as far away as needed!
Price gouging is illegal in the state of Florida! Report any outrageous gas and water sales to the state attorney general’s hotline: 1-866-966-7226
During a severe weather event, never park your car under trees or power lines. Instead, park all your vehicles inside a covered garage. If you don’t have a garage at home, it’s possible local businesses, commercial malls, government buildings, houses of worship, and charities may open their parking garages to the public. However, public buildings will close their lots eventually, so begin exploring options and contact community members as soon as possible. Dade County offers the voluntary Miami Vehicle Protection program for residents to pre-register their cars in public parking before hurricanes. The higher up you can park your car, the better chances your vehicle has of avoiding damage.
After Hurricane Irma, your community will look very different. We could expect knee high flood waters, fallen trees everywhere, and wreckage scattered about the ground! Take your time to completely inspect and evaluate your car’s condition and performance ability. Document any amount of damage with clear photographs.
Don’t try to drive through flooded waters or over debris. Let me repeat: NEVER drive or walk through flooded areas as they may be much deeper than they appear and have downed power cables in them. Wait until city officials have cleared the roads and approved them safe for drivers. If you absolutely must drive, stick to major roadways that are not in flood zones.
For more information on securing your property during the storm – Read tips on Ready.gov