Devastating flash flooding swept through the Washington, D.C. metro area during a recent morning rush hour, leaving many drivers stranded as rapidly rising waters inundated roadways.
At the same time, the first expected hurricane of the 2019 season looms over the Gulf of Mexico.
These are all-hands-on-deck situations for newsrooms – including consumer reporters!
You can help people to financially prepare for storms.
Protecting your car
Does car insurance protect you if your car is damaged by flooding? It depends. Comprehensive coverage does include coverage for damage caused by non-collision incidents: a tree falling on the car, flood damage, etc.
Often, comprehensive insurance coverage is required when purchasing a vehicle with financing. But, once paid off, it’s optional. Do some math to help your audience determine if comprehensive insurance is a good investment.
And it’s important to point out that in order to prevent fraud, many insurance companies restrict the purchase of comprehensive insurance if a hurricane is impending, so it’s essential to plan well ahead.
Protecting your home
Homeowner’s insurance generally does not cover flood damage, though some may cover wind damage. But flood insurance purchased separately often includes significant restrictions. Talk to an independent insurance agent to learn more about what flood insurance does and doesn’t cover and what homeowners need to keep in mind when considering purchasing flood insurance. Be sure to include information about flood insurance for renters, too.
Resources like Climate Matters can help you add local context to your reporting by providing data on the frequency of extreme flooding and storms in your coverage area, which in many areas are occurring with increasing frequency.