Does Car Insurance Cover Earthquake Damage?
Earthquakes can do spectacular damage to vehicles. Falling debris, collapsing buildings and buckling bridges can smash your car into a pancake — or at least ding it up. If you discover that an earthquake has damaged or destroyed your vehicle, can your car insurance help?
Auto Insurance and Earthquake Damage
Here’s the most important thing to know: If you have comprehensive coverage, your auto insurance policy will cover earthquake damage to your vehicle. Take a look at your policy, and you’ll most likely see earthquake damage listed in the “other than collision” section. This includes damage from falling objects, fire, explosions, broken glass and the earthquake itself.
Let’s say that a brick wall collapses during an earthquake and damages your car, breaking the windshield and denting your roof. You’ll need to file a claim under your comprehensive coverage. Your insurance company then reviews the claim and pays the cost of the repairs, after you pay the deductible out of pocket.
Don’t have comprehensive coverage? Then, unfortunately, you’re out of luck.
What Is Comprehensive Coverage?
Comprehensive coverage is the part of your auto insurance that covers damage to your vehicle that doesn’t result from impact with another vehicle or object. Just picture something bad happening to your car through no fault of your own, and comprehensive coverage probably covers it. We mean things like:
- Theft or vandalism
- Falling objects, such as a tree limb or rock
- Fire or explosion
- Water or flood
- Riot or civil unrest
- Hitting a bird or an animal
- Breaking glass, if not caused by a collision
Comprehensive Coverage Costs
Here’s some good news: Comprehensive coverage isn’t expensive. It’s usually the cheapest part of your car insurance policy. The amount you’ll pay, however, depends on factors like the age and make of your car (newer, pricier cars can be more expensive to repair); the state where you live; and the amount of your deductible.
In Louisiana, one of the most expensive states for car insurance, the average person spends $232 each year for comprehensive coverage. In Maine, which is a great state for cheap car insurance, comprehensive coverage costs less than $109 per year, on average. The average annual cost of comprehensive coverage is $159.72.
You can reduce the cost of coverage by increasing your deductible, which is the amount you have to contribute toward the repairs to your car. Compare.com can help you find a cheaper car insurance policy overall.
Do You Need Comprehensive Insurance?
Comprehensive insurance is not required. But it’s generally a good idea. Most drivers carry it: 78 percent of insured drivers buy comprehensive coverage, and 74 percent buy collision coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Carrying this coverage is good for your peace of mind, but do you really need comprehensive? That depends on two things: your budget and the age/value of your vehicle. Imagine that an earthquake hits your hometown and flattens your car.
Remember, car insurance does not cover earthquake damage if you don’t have comprehensive coverage. So, could you afford to replace it without insurance? Or is your car such a beater that it’s just not worth paying $100-$200 per year for extra coverage? If the answer to either question is yes, you might not need comprehensive coverage.
Is Your Car Covered by a Renters or Homeowners Policy?
Let’s say your vehicle gets damaged in an earthquake and you don’t have comprehensive coverage. What about your renters or homeowner’s policy? Could that save the day?
Probably not. Neither homeowners nor renter’s insurance will cover damage to your vehicle, and both typically exclude earthquake damage anyway. Your best bet is to protect yourself ahead of time with an affordable car insurance policy that includes comprehensive coverage.
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