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Online Auto Insurance Gives Tips to Car Owners with Storm-Damaged Cars

car in water

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA--May 22, 2013: The process of recovering and rebuilding from this week's deadly tornado outbreak will be long and difficult, and OnlineAutoInsurance advises Oklahomans whose cars were damaged or destroyed to check if they have coverage for the damage and, if so, to start the claims process as soon as possible.

Are you covered?

Oklahomans can get an idea of whether they have coverage for tornado-related damages by getting out their policies and seeing if comprehensive (also sometimes referred to as "other than collision") coverage is included in their policy.

This coverage type is not required by law and is the only one that will compensate drivers for vehicle damages caused by weather-related events like tornadoes and hail. According to the latest data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, about two-thirds of Oklahoma auto insurance policies include comprehensive coverage.

Drivers without this type of protection can prepare for the next storm by checking to see how much it would cost to add it to their policy by using an online quote-comparison tool.

Know your deductible

If you do have this coverage type, one thing you should be aware of is your deductible.

When you bought your policy, you and your agent or insurer agreed on a set dollar amount that you would have to pay before your comprehensive coverage actually kicks in. So if you have a $500 deductible and the damage to your car will cost $1,500 to repair, you'll likely have to pay your insurer $500 before they cover the remaining $1,000.

Filing your claim

To start your claim, call your agent or your insurance company's claims hotline with your policy information in hand. The number for the claims hotline may be on the proof of insurance card you keep in your glove box. If not, you can likely find it on the company website.

If you feel that temporary vehicle repairs are necessary to prevent further damage, ask the contact at your insurance company about the best way to go about doing that. The best route may end up being paying for the temporary repairs, saving the receipt and then seeking reimbursement from your insurer.

Also, make sure to take photos of the damage.