It's not always a reckless or careless driver that causes an accident on Florida's city streets, highways or parking lots. Road debris has been credited for causing more than 200 injuries and 1,000 non-injury accidents, according to the 2016 Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Traffic Crash Facts annual report. In this article, we address what your insurance will cover when road debris or unsafe road conditions cause damage to your vehicle.
Hazardous Road Conditions
Potholes and uneven road surfaces
Potholes are a common sight on Florida's roadways. The combination of rain and scorching heat weaken the road's asphalt surface, causing it to buckle and form holes. As more tourists and residents use the road, these potholes widen, often causing damage to front tires and the front-end of cars that are unlucky enough to drive over them.
If you see a pothole ahead of you and try to avoid it, be sure there are no other vehicles in the lane you are merging into. The last thing you want is to unintentionally cause an accident dodging a pothole.
According to Broward County Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Division 4, “the very first thing you must obtain is a police report” if construction activities, vehicles or materials damage your own vehicle. Roadways under construction are covered by the contractor, shielding the state against responsibility for damages that construction may cause. If you need to make a claim, as with any property damage or accident caused by third-party negligence, take photos of the damage and the surrounding area, including repair cost estimates and submit them to the contractor.
When a highway, bridge or thoroughfare is under construction, seek an alternate route if possible to avoid accidentally driving over construction debris on the road.
Insufficient lighting to see road hazards
Poor lighting during sundown and at night can blind drivers to road debris and other hazards on the road concealed under the cover of darkness.
During inclement weather, remember to turn your headlights on and use your emergency flashers only in an emergency. Not only will it increase your visibility of the road ahead, it will also increase your vehicle's visibility to other drivers.
Road obstacles such as tree branches, car parts and animals
Nocturnal animals, including raccoons and opossums, are just two of the most commonly seen animals on Florida roads. When a driver does see one of these, among the many other animals, on the road, their first reaction is to swerve to avoid hitting the animal. However, this, just as swerving to avoid a pothole, can have unintended consequences for your vehicle.
What Does My Car Insurance Cover?
If you have collision and/or comprehensive coverage on your insurance policy, damage to your vehicle from road debris and other environmental hazards are covered under the following conditions:
- Collision Coverage: pays for damage to your car if you run over something in the road.
- Comprehensive Coverage: covers damages to your vehicle from incidents other than collision, including falling objects, flood, fire and theft, as well as damage from hitting an animal.
If you have any questions about your coverage following damage to your vehicle from road debris, talk to your insurance company.