Protect Your Car During Hurricane Michael
Hurricane Michael is fast approaching the Florida panhandle, and you should take every precaution to protect yourself and your property. 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!
Featured Video: Protect Your Car during Hurricanes
Without a reliable source of transportation, you cannot get to work or school. Hurricane Michael 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.
Here are 6 easy step you should take immediately:
1: Take Pictures
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.
2: Store Important Items Indoors
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 lockbox 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.
3: Fill Your Tank!
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
4: Park Safely
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 the chances your vehicle has of avoiding damage.
5: Inspect Your Vehicle for Damage
After Hurricane Michael, 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.
6: Drive Safe After the Storm! Be Smart!
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 Hurricane Michael- Read tips on Ready.gov
Call your insurance company to verify your vehicle is covered adequately:
- Geico: 800.207.7847
- Progressive: 800.776.4737
- State Farm: 800.782.8332
- Allstate: 800.782.8332
- Liberty Mutual: 888.398.8924
- Infinity: 800.782.1070
- Travelers: 800.842.5075
- USAA: 800.531.8722
- Nationwide: 800.421.3535
Florida Court Outlaws License Plate Frames
Florida Court Outlaws License Plate Frames
Florida Court of Appeal finds common, dealer-issued license plate frames are illegal.
License plate frame
Driving in Florida with a license plate frame is illegal under a state Court of Appeal ruling handed down Wednesday. A three-judge panel overturned a Miami-Dade County judge’s decision declaring that Officer Carl Sanabria illegally stopped Marcelo Aron Pena on September 9, 2015. Pena’s car had a license plate frame advertising the local car dealership that partially obscured “MyFlorida.com” at the top and “Sunshine State” at the bottom.
In her January 2016 ruling, Miami-Dade Judge Diane Ward cited a 1997 case in which the Court of Appeal ruled that it was not a traffic violation to drive with a plate frame that covered the name of a county. Judge Ward reasoned that covering up “Sunshine State” or “MyFlorida.com” should be no different. The three-judge panel disagreed, noting that the Florida legislature had updated the license plate law in 2005 to require the word “Florida” always remain unobstructed — a decision the legislature explicitly reversed in 2016.
“Because Pena’s tag frame obscured the word ‘Florida’ at the top of the plate, he violated the 2015 version of section 316.605 and Detective Sanabria had probable cause to stop Pena’s car,” Judge Robert J. Luck wrote for the Court of Appeal.
Wednesday’s decision did not comment on whether the 2016 change in the law would affect cases going forward. Instead, the court noted the likelihood that ordinary motorists would be swept up by the precedent.
“We share the fifth district and the trial court’s concern that license plate rims and frames are a common practice of long-standing among the citizens of our state… and many otherwise law-abiding citizens install them specifically to show allegiance to a club, fraternity, college or sports team or, as a means of other self-expression,” Judge Luck wrote. “But the legislature gets to make the laws that govern our public roads and highways.”