It sounds like something from a post-apocalyptic movie, but in this case it’s true: Two years ago, millions of baseball-sized hail fell from the sky and pummelled San Antonio and much of South Central Texas.
The 2016 natural disaster ended up being the costliest hail storm in Texas history, with more than $1 billion in damages reported and more than 100,000 cars and countless houses affected, according to the Insurance Council of Texas.
Depending on where you live, you could face any number of other natural disaster threats—from tornadoes to tropical storms, flooding to high winds. And since many of these natural disasters can happen at a moment’s notice, getting ready for a storm now, before it hits, is the best approach.
How can Root customers prepare for a storm?
Storms can strike surprisingly quickly, and if you’re not prepared now, you might struggle to know what to do in the moment.
It’s understandable that when people report a loss or damage to their property, they’re not thinking clearly. That’s what happens after a traumatic event. So anything you can do ahead of time to prepare will help.
Here are 6 storm-preparation safety tips that you can do now.
1. Take photos of your vehicle now.
Most people don’t take before pictures of their vehicles, but it’s a critical step to making your claims process easier. Giving your claims adjuster before and after pictures helps to ensure your claim is processed smoothly, quickly, and accurately.
2. Find cover.
As you might imagine, avoiding storm damage to your car is as simple as finding cover for it.
If you don’t have a garage or other available shelter at your home, locate places ahead of time near your home and/or work where you could potentially store your car, even if only for a couple hours.
Pro tip: Malls with covered parking areas are a great option for temporary shelter, both for you and your car.
3. Buy a hail blanket.
It sounds silly, but it’s a real thing. Several retailers sell hail blankets or sturdy car tents to protect your car—even just portions of it like the hood and roof—from storm damage. You can even find instructions online to make your own hail blanket.
The biggest challenge from hail damage is that it affects an entire region. So body and repair shops get backed up for months with hundreds of cars that need repairs. Anything you can do to avoid it in the first place will save you a lot of hassle.
4. Check your coverages and deductibles.
Most insurance providers, including Root, don’t allow changes to deductibles immediately before, during, or after natural disasters. So it’s important to check your coverages monthly, quarterly, or, at the very least, yearly.
The worst time to check your coverage is when a storm is hitting. Instead, check ahead of time to make sure you have collision and comprehensive coverages—and that you’re comfortable with the deductibles. Without comprehensive coverage, you’ll be stuck paying for repairs from storm damage on your own. (Learn more about how to choose collision and comprehensive.)
5. Scope out auto body shops.
Familiarize yourself with the auto body and repair shops in your area. If one auto body shop stands out as convenient to you, have it ready when you report the claim. The claims process can go faster if you already have a body shop in mind, because we can spend less time looking for shops near you with openings.
Need help choosing one? Here are tips on how to choose an auto repair or body shop.
6. Familiarize yourself with the Root app
During a natural disaster, auto shops are typically inundated with phone calls. With Root, filing a claim is easy.
Just open the app, select or explain what happened, and hit submit. You can file your claim, submit pictures of your damaged vehicle, and get confirmation that your claim was filed—all within the Root app. It only takes 5 minutes.
We’re leading the industry in the mobile claims process, and we’re continually adding new features to the app to keep improving its ease and speed in claims.
While we hope you never have to encounter a rough storm or natural disaster, you now have some easy ways to prepare yourself and your car if you do. And if one comes your way, we’ll have you covered.
Don’t have the Root Insurance app yet? Download it now.