Does Car Insurance Cover Tornado Damage?
Tornados are incredibly fast and strong, traveling as fast as 60 mph. They can dent your vehicle with flying debris, blow out the windows, or even pick up your car and carry it away.
They’re also totally unpredictable. So, while it might not be likely that a tornado hits your vehicle, it can happen! That’s when you urgently need to know: Does your car insurance cover tornado damage?
The answer is yes — but only if you have comprehensive coverage. We’ll tell you what you need to know about tornadoes and car insurance.
Tornado Insurance For Cars
Do you really need tornado insurance for your car? The chances of a direct strike on your vehicle seem slim.
But did you know that more than 1,200 tornadoes hit the United States in an average year? Most of them don’t make headlines, of course. They just whirl around in a cornfield or grassland and then dissipate. When strong tornadoes hit populated areas, however, they can be super-destructive. In 1925, a tornado rampaged for 219 miles through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, killing almost 700 people.
Not every state has the same risk level for tornado damage. The northeast United States, Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Hawaii see hardly any tornadoes. “Tornado Alley,” which includes states between central Texas and South Dakota, is one of the world’s most active areas for tornadoes. Texas alone sees 155 in an average year.
If you live in one of these high-risk areas, you definitely need tornado insurance for cars. But even if you live in a state that hardly ever sees tornadoes, you’ll still be protected — as long as you carry comprehensive coverage.
What is Comprehensive Coverage?
Comprehensive coverage is the “everything else” part of your car insurance. Liability covers other people’s injuries and property damage. Collision covers damage to your car from accidents, whether you collide with another vehicle or a stationary object. Comprehensive covers damage to your vehicle that’s caused by things like:
- Theft or vandalism
- Falling objects
- Fire or explosion
- Water or flood
- Riot or civil unrest
- Hitting a bird or an animal
- Breaking glass, if not caused by a collision
If you take a close look at your car insurance policy documents, you may notice a word missing. Your comprehensive coverage says it covers damage from all these weather events, but “tornado” may not specifically be listed. So you wonder: “Does my car insurance cover tornado damage?”
Don’t worry: It does! Comprehensive auto insurance can cover damage to your car caused by any windstorm, whether that’s a tornado, derecho, downburst, haboob, or a regular old gust.
Comprehensive Coverage Costs
Comprehensive coverage isn’t expensive. The average annual cost of comprehensive coverage is $159.72. You may pay more or less, however, depending on:
- The age and make of your car
- The state where you live
- Your address
- The amount of your deductible
- And several other factors
If you feel like you’re paying way too much, Compare.com can help! Search for cheap car insurance with our fast and free quote engine.
Do Tornado Claims Increase Your Premium?
That’s a good question. You probably know that liability claims for an at-fault accident can raise your rates a lot. Collision claims can also increase your premiums, even if an accident’s not your fault.
But what about a tornado claim? Increasing your premium seems totally unfair, because the tornado wasn’t your fault.
Unfortunately, car insurance companies do typically raise rates after a comprehensive claim, because they think it means you’re more likely to file another claim in the future. And they might be right, if you live in Tornado Alley. The good news: the increase in your premiums will probably be small.
Do You Need Comprehensive Coverage For Your Car?
Unlike liability coverage, comprehensive and collision coverage aren’t required for your car (unless you have a car loan or lease). For that reason, many people who have older cars decide to drop both coverages so they can save money on their insurance.
That’s not always a good idea, though. The average comprehensive claim is $1,833. A tornado — or any other natural disaster — has the potential to do damage with a cost far exceeding that. If a tornado damages your car, will you be able to pay for the damage yourself? If the answer is no, then you need comprehensive coverage for your car.
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