Does Car Insurance Cover Hurricanes?
Walking around an urban area after a hurricane blows through, you can see the incredible damage inflicted on vehicles. Hurricane-force winds can topple trees onto cars, shatter windows with flying debris, and even roll over vehicles. The flooding or storm surge that follows can flood a vehicle up to the dashboard or even sweep it away entirely.
If you live in a state that sometimes gets hit by these mega-storms, you may have wondered: “Does my car insurance cover hurricanes? Or is there some special coverage I need to buy?”
Will Car Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage?
As long as you have comprehensive coverage, your vehicle should be protected against hurricanes. Comprehensive is the part of your car insurance that pays for damage to your vehicle that’s caused by anything other than a collision.
Now, if you take a close look at your policy documents, you may not see hurricanes specifically listed. Don’t worry — you’re still covered!
Your auto insurance policy likely says it covers losses caused by flooding, water, hail, wind and falling objects, among other effects of a hurricane. Whether your vehicle gets totaled by floodwaters or just dinged from a falling branch, you can file a comprehensive claim to have your comprehensive coverage pay for the damage.
There’s one thing you should know, however: You can’t wait until a storm is on the horizon to buy car insurance that covers hurricane damage! An insurance company may refuse to pay a claim or a storm that was already forecasted when you bought your policy.
To find the cheapest comprehensive insurance (and other coverage) for your car, compare auto insurance quotes on Compare.com.
How to Prevent Your Car From Getting Damaged in a Hurricane
Unlike other natural disasters, like tornadoes or hailstorms, you know when a hurricane is coming. That means you have time to prepare.
Look at the NOAA’s Storm Surge Hazard Map to see if your neighborhood is a high risk for flooding in a hurricane. If it is, then figure out a plan for how you’ll evacuate and where you can park your car to avoid hurricane damage. Inside a sturdy garage or parking deck are ideal places. If you must park on the street, try to find high ground and park well away from trees and power lines.
After the storm passes, examine your vehicle carefully. Even minor flooding can ruin the engine and electrical systems. You may want to get an independent mechanic to check your car for damage after a hurricane, so you can push back if your insurer says it’s only willing to pay for new carpet.
How Much Does Hurricane Damage Coverage Cost?
Unlike flood insurance for houses, which must be purchased separately from homeowner’s insurance, hurricane protection is automatically included in your comprehensive coverage.
The average annual cost of comprehensive coverage is $159.72, which is only around $13 per month. You may pay more, however, if:
- You drive a new or expensive vehicle
- You live in a state that has high insurance rates
- You live in an area with a higher risk of hurricanes, crime or other
- You opt for a low deductible
- You’ve filed multiple comprehensive claims in recent years
Compare.com helps you find the best cheap car insurance with our fast and free quote engine.
Do You Need Comprehensive Coverage?
You can legally drive your vehicle without comprehensive coverage. It’s only required if you have a car loan or lease, because the lender wants the car to be protected until you pay it off. However, it’s wise to carry comprehensive coverage, so your vehicle can be protected from the unexpected.
Hurricanes, as you probably know, are becoming stronger and more frequent. Looking back at historical records, a typical year brings 12 named storms and 6 hurricanes, with 3 of those being classified as “major hurricanes.” The new record is 30 named storms, including 11 that made landfall in the continental United States.
If you live in a state that has a high risk of being hit by a hurricane, you definitely need comprehensive coverage to protect your vehicle. The highest-risk states are Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Louisiana, according to AccuWeather. But even if your state has never seen a hurricane, you still should carry comprehensive insurance for other common vehicle mishaps, such as hitting a deer, breaking a windshield or vandalism.
Do Hurricane Damage Claims Raise Your Car Insurance Premium?
Yes. Often, you’ll see your rates for comprehensive coverage rise after filing a claim for hurricane damage — even though the storm obviously wasn’t your fault.
You may see your car insurance premium go up after a hurricane even if you didn’t file a claim. That’s because car insurance companies are constantly assessing and re-assessing risk. If a massive storm makes them pay out $500 million in claims for hurricane damage, you better believe they’ll raise rates the next year to make up for the losses, and to better protect themselves against future claims.
That’s why it’s so important to shop around for cheaper car insurance by comparing quotes on Compare.com! Our customers save an average of $720 a year.