Does Car Insurance Cover a Natural Disaster?

Storm Waves
••• Getty Images/Dan Barnes

Natural disasters cause a huge chunk of insurance claims for both auto and homeowners. Mother nature's wrath can be as devastating as detonating a massive bomb. So the big question is whether or not your car insurance will cover the damage caused by a natural disaster. The answer is simple if you know what type of car insurance you have – because if you have the right coverage selected before the storm hits, it’ll be covered, and if you do not, it won’t be. 

Comprehensive Coverage

It’s important to understand what comprehensive coverage does and doesn’t cover before you purchase it – and it’s also important to know what type of coverage you currently have. Comprehensive coverage will cover you for any damage not caused by an accident – think theft, fires, vandalism – and “acts of God,” like weather damage or a tree falling on your vehicle. 

As any insurance agent will tell you, comprehensive is an essential coverage when a natural disaster strikes. It doesn't matter where you live, who your insurance provider is, or what natural disaster caused the damage. Comprehensive is the coverage needed to get your vehicle repaired or to get compensation for a total loss.

Was Your Car Damaged By a Tornado? We all know tornadoes are devastating and unpredictable. It is not just homes which get damaged. Your vehicle could get picked up and tossed, or wrapped around a pole or tree, with winds recorded as strong as 318 mph in an F5 tornado. Most likely you will be looking at a total loss claim, and comprehensive will be the coverage to provide compensation.

Does Car Insurance Cover Damage from Hurricanes? Hurricanes can damage vehicles in several different ways. Engine-destroying floods, strong wind, and trees coming down on your car roof are all potential risks. Hope you have comprehensive coverage before the storm is predicted to hit your area. Most insurance providers do not allow coverage to be changed once a major storm is predicted to strike.

Live in a Flood Zone? Floods can sometimes occur when you do not even live in a flood zone. Floods do severe damage to the mechanics of vehicles, not to mention can carry bacteria and disease, and often require the vehicle to be a total loss. The only way to get compensation is by selecting comprehensive coverage on your car insurance.

A Tree Fell On Your Car! Now What? A tree falling on your vehicle may or may not be related to a natural disaster. Either way, comprehensive coverage is the savior in this incident.

Was Your Car Just Beat-Up By Hail? Hundred of little dents all over your vehicle is a telltale sign a hail storm has hit. It does not matter if it is considered a natural disaster or not – since mother nature caused it, hail is covered under comprehensive coverage. 

Lookout! Tips for When You Hit an Animal I have never heard hitting an animal is a part of a natural disaster, but maybe the animal was trying to escape a wildfire. Animals are a part of nature so I thought I would add them to the list. Hitting an animal is also covered by comprehensive coverage. It does not matter if the animal is a bear, raccoon, or deer it is covered.

Are there any natural disaster-related cases that comprehensive coverage doesn’t cover? This will depend on the specifics of your individual policy. However, it is important to note that any accident-related damage won’t be covered, even if the accident occurred due to the weather, like if another driver slides into you while driving through a blizzard. 

So by now, you can see the importance of comprehensive coverage on your car insurance when it comes to a natural disaster. 

Of course, having coverage doesn’t mean you won’t be on the hook for any amount of money in the event of inclement weather incident. Expect to pay your deductible, unless you have a deductible-free policy. It is also a good idea to report your loss as soon as possible when a natural disaster is involved. Most likely, your car insurance carrier is going to be dealing with lots and lots of claims, so getting yours reported early would speed up your claim process and get you back on the road as soon as possible.