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Tips to save you time, money and stress in monsoon season

The monsoons are here and, if you're lucky, you will not suffer any damage, but chances are you just might so here are some things to keep in mind.

Remember Arizona's "stupid motorist law." The law is there to not only protect you but also to protect first responders. Here it is in a nutshell:

If you become stranded after driving around barricades to enter a flooded public road you will be liable up to $2,000 for the cost of your rescue. You can also be responsible to pay for any damage you cause. The $2,000 limit is only for the rescue itself.

Even if there are no barricades and you enter a flooded road, you could still be charged with endangerment and/or reckless driving and may be required to pay for your rescue. Not only will you pay out-of-pocket, you will also have a criminal record and a license suspension. This in turn could cause your auto insurance rates to increase. In addition, you could be held civilly liable for any damage you cause to real or personal property.

As a side bar, your insurance company has the right to exclude coverage of the emergency response costs under this law.

If you find yourself driving in a dust storm or a haboob there are several things to keep in mind. If you can outrun it safely and by following the speed limit, then do so. If it catches up to you or if it is nighttime, pull off the freeway or as far off the road as possible. Set your parking brake, turn your lights off, take your foot off the break and close your vents and windows. Keep your radio tuned to News/Talk 92.3 KTAR for important updates. Make it a habit to carry water and a flashlight in your car for emergencies.

If you are at home and a dust storm or a haboob hits there are things you can do to limit your damage. Close your doors and windows to limit the dust. From personal experience, I recommend turning on your pool pump to keep your pool cleaning from getting behind. Also, think about turning off your HVAC or air conditioner to limit any dust being sucked in, especially if you have high allergies. Lastly, lower any umbrellas or portable gazebos.

If you do suffer damages and have insurance (whether you think you have coverage or not), here is a simple list of things to do to help you:

• Call your insurance company and make a claim for any damage immediately.
• Take pictures of any damage immediately.
• Video the items in your home immediately, not only in the damaged area but the entire home.
• Be aware that you may have to pay for any restoration services or emergency response companies.
• If you use one, video or take pictures of all your items before packing and make a list of the items.

The above is not a comprehensive list of all the things you need to think about or do during Arizona's monsoon season. However, it covers some very important things that will help you in several areas. The least it will do is save you some aggravation and frustration!

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About the Author


Monica is a legal commentator and practicing attorney with her own successful practice. She currently co-hosts The Agenda on KTAR with Joe Huizenga and is a regular guest on Mac and Gaydos. She has provided legal analysis on several national networks including HLN (shows including News Now, Happening Now In America, HLN After Dark, Evening Express, Raising America, Nancy Grace, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Dr. Drew), ABC's Good Morning America, Fox's The O'Reilly Factor, Neil Cavuto's Real World, Studio B with Shep Smith, and CNN's Headline News.

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