AAA: Nor’easter to Bring Wet Weather Driving Challenges; Possible Flooding
AAA urges motorists and homeowners to understand insurance coverage
PHILADELPHIA, PA (March 1, 2018) – The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch and high wind watch for the Philadelphia region beginning Thursday evening through late Friday evening. Winter Storm Riley, an intense nor’easter, is slated to bring heavy rain, flooding, high winds and wet snow throughout the region, making for messy travel and raising concerns about flooding in homes. AAA urges motorists to exercise caution when traveling during the storm. AAA also urges both motorists and homeowners to understand what their auto and homeowners insurance coverage and claim process in the aftermath of a flood.
“Many motorists view rain storms as more of an inconvenience than a hazard,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “As a result, drivers tend to be less cautious than they should be. The most important steps to take when driving in wet weather are to buckle up, slow down, and keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.”
AAA: Safety Tips for Wet Weather Driving
- Turn Around, Don’t Drown! As little as six inches of water can cause you to lose control of your car and potentially stall your engine. Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads. Turn around; find another way to get to your destination. Pull over to a safe location if needed.
- Seek higher ground - If your vehicle stalls or is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately.
- Never drive through standing water - Standing water can be deceiving and motorists should avoid it. No matter how shallow it may appear, water may be concealing downed power lines, be deeper than it appears, or have significant force from flooding, etc.
- Slow down, brake early and drive with greater caution and alertness - Drivers are more likely to lose control of the vehicle when roads are wet so reduce speed and keep your eyes and mind on the road. Brake early, but not hard, to allow the time needed to slow the car down.
- Increase following distance – This is even more important when driving near vans, recreational vehicles and cars pulling trailers that may be adversely affected by wind.
- Use the central lanes - When driving during heavy rain, use center lanes of the road (without straddling the yellow line). Avoid outside lanes where the water collects at curbside.
- Watch for hydroplaning - No car is immune from hydroplaning on wet surfaces, including four-wheel drive vehicles. Even if brakes work under normal conditions that doesn’t mean they will react the same on slippery roads where tires roll with less traction. Also, turn off cruise control as it can cause hydroplaning.
- Use your defroster - Keep the air inside your car dry and prevent windows from fogging by using your defroster along with your air conditioner.
- Take the nearest exit - If conditions worsen to the point where there is any doubt about your safety, take the nearest exit. Don’t just stop on the shoulder or under a bridge. If your visibility is compromised, other drivers may be struggling too.
“This storm has the potential to impact motorists and homeowners, in terms of flooding and insurance coverage,” said Tidwell. “No matter how often storms roll through the area, dealing with rain, wind, snow, and flooding can be a financial hardship that not everyone is prepared for. Understanding your insurance (auto and homeowners) coverage and claims process can save time and money if and when you really need it.”
AAA Tips on Auto Insurance Claims:
- Physical damage to a car caused by flooding is covered under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto policy.
- Car owners should contact their insurance company to determine the extent of coverage before seeking repairs.
- Take photographs of any visible damage.
- Any vehicle sustaining flood damage should be fully inspected before being allowed back on the road. Mechanical components, computer systems, engine, transmission, axles, brake system and fuel system impacted by water contamination may render the vehicle unfit to drive and in many cases vehicles sustaining significant water damage will be determined to be a total loss.
AAA Tips on Home Insurance Coverage
- Water that seeps into a home from the ground up is considered flooding and would be covered by flood insurance, which is provided by the National Flood Insurance Program and a few private insurers. Flood insurance is available to both homeowners and renters. Flood damage is not covered by standard homeowners or renters insurance policies.
- Homeowners policies also include additional living expenses—in the event a home is severely damaged by an insured disaster, this would pay for reasonable expenses incurred by living elsewhere while the home is being fixed or rebuilt.
AAA Tips on Homeowners Insurance Claims:
The first step to recovery is inspecting your home for damage and then notifying your insurance company as soon as possible.
Prepare an inventory and take photographs of damaged property.
Store undamaged property in a protected place if possible.
If carpet is soaked, remove the carpet and the carpet pad. Keep a two-foot square piece for the claims adjuster.
Look for hazards such as broken or leaking gas lines, flooded electrical circuits, submerged furnaces or electrical appliances and damaged sewage systems.
Proceed with extreme caution as you inspect your basement. There may be hazards from electrical lines and heating units. If your basement has flooded, do not pump it out all at once. Remove about one-third of the water per day. The wet ground surrounding your basement may cause the floors to buckle and the walls to collapse.
Remove contaminated materials from the home. Be aware of exposure to mold.
Carpeting, mattresses and upholstered furniture should be disposed of or cleaned and disinfected by a professional cleaner.
Test drywall for moisture softness. If soft, cut holes at base to help dry out.
If possible run AC, dehumidifier and fans constantly.
Open cabinet doors and elevate furniture allowing air to circulate.
Save wet books or photo albums by putting them on edge in a frost free freezer.
Be present when the adjuster inspects your damage.
Among the services being provided by AAA Mid-Atlantic:
- AAA Insurance customers who have suffered damage to their homes or autos can begin filing claims immediately. Claims representatives are ready to assist 24 hours a day. The number is (888) 222-0086. If not insured through AAA Insurance, contact your insurance provider.
Follow us on Twitter: @AAAPhillyNews
7777 Brewster Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19159
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Pennsylvania. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.