Original Air is located on the Gulf Coast of Tampa, FL, so we know a thing or two about hurricanes. We’ve experienced more than a few close calls with Irma, Dorian, Laura; you name it, we’ve dodged it. However, luck can’t last forever. And many weren’t so fortunate. In 2017, hurricane Harvey and Irma wrecked nearly 1.4 million cars. If you own a classic and put countless hours into it, always be prepared.
The best piece of advice we can offer you when it comes to your classic and hurricanes is protecting yourself with the right insurance. Make sure you have the right plan to cover all your collector car needs. Most standard auto insurances will only pay the cash value of the classic. This may land you thousands of dollars below the actual market value.
Years ago, after losing about a thousand classics post-Katrina and Rita, the collector car business for insurance changed. Some insurance companies wrote about 75% of their claims were a total loss.
To qualify as a classic, in general, the car must be:
- At least 25-30 years old
- A modified car or hotrod
- Classic trucks
- Muscle cars
- Exotic or luxury
- In limited use
- Secured in storage
- Attend car shows and meetings
- For the owner to hold a clean driving record
Classic Car Policies
Each classic is unique, so there is no standard value for specific types. You and your insurer will have to agree on the value of the vehicle. If you already got insurance and have taken care of your classic over the years, know your value might have increased. Remember to speak about adjusting the amount as time goes on. Depending on the state, some types of insurances can also cover a portion of expenses needed to evacuate.
Evacuating with a Classic
If your classic is your daily ride or you think it’s best to bring it with you, make sure it’s ready for the distance. Read our tips on the proper classic maintenance before taking it out on the road. More than likely, you’ll hit evacuation traffic, so be sure you have everything you need including a functioning AC.
In addition to maintenance, you want to bring a handful of items with you on the road. Bring a roadside emergency kit that includes tire sealant in case of a flat. Add a can of gas as gas stations are notorious for running out of gas during hurricane evacuations. Plus, bring a cigarette lighter-to-USB charger for vintage cars for phone charging. Many classics don’t have an option for phones to connect, so consider getting a Bluetooth speaker.
Cars with a garage
If you have a garage but live in a nasty flood zone, you might be better off with your friend or office garage. If the garage’s structure is weak, it may not last the hurricane and damage your classic even more. Furthermore, many modern houses install flimsy garage doors that break in high winds. Consider finding storm braces.
Even if your neighbor has lived in the area for 20 some years and swears it’s never flooded, there’s a first for everything. You can look into car capsules but depending on your budget, you might want to stick with jacks.
Cars without a garage
Simply put, you need some shelter. Check-in with friends, family, and neighbors to see if they’re willing to help you out. If you work at a larger office building with a concrete garage, use that. If you know similar places in the area that won’t tow, use that instead if you don’t have access to a private one. Furthermore, make sure you park above the first floor toward the middle near the walls.
If you don’t have access to any garages, find a tall, strong structure away from trees, water, and powerlines. Make sure the area is clean and ideally vacant. You don’t want any projectiles flying into your classic.
Once the car is parked, disconnect the battery. Raise it on jack stands if you’re not parked in an upper-level garage. Put on a protective cover and an additional tarp.
Be Cool and Help Out
Lastly, if you see someone in need, lend a hand. Hurricane season can be challenging but coming together as a community can make the difference. This guy saved a stranger’s Mazda RX-7 from tropical storm Cristobal’s floodwaters. The water would’ve ruined it entirely if not for the heroism of someone with good taste in cars. Be more like him.
Read the full story here.