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Does Car Insurance Cover Natural Disasters? (2021)

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Why you can trust Insurify

Insurify partners with top insurance companies and is a licensed agent in all 50 states. However, the insurance experts writing our content operate independently of our partners. Check out reviews from over 3,000 satisfied customers, how we make money, our data methodology, and our editorial standards.
Mandie Kelleher

By: Mandie Kelleher

Edited by John Leach

Last Updated August 8, 2022

It’s no secret that living in an area prone to natural disasters can be stressful. Unfortunately, the damage caused by storms and other natural calamities can’t easily be avoided.

No matter where you live in the United States, there’s a chance your car can suffer some sort of storm damage from a natural disaster. But making the right insurance decisions could offset the financial burden of such damage.

Natural disasters can lead to all sorts of car damage. Falling debris can lead to dented bodies, scratched paint, and broken glass. Heavy rains and floodwaters can destroy the inner workings of your vehicle. But these things are often out of our control.

Even though you can’t prevent natural disasters from happening, you can prepare yourself for the damage that may come as a result of severe weather and disasters. Lining up the right car insurance coverage before you need it can protect you from unexpected expenses.

That’s where Insurify can help. In just a few minutes, you can get personalized car insurance quotes tailored to your needs and budget, so you have one less thing to worry about when disaster strikes.

Does car insurance cover natural disasters?

If you’re wondering if your car insurance covers damage from natural disasters, you’ll have to turn to your insurance policy for answers. The coverage in question? Comprehensive car insurance.

Many people group comprehensive and collision coverage together. After all, both of these policies help cover damage to your vehicle. The difference lies in how exactly the damage is caused.

Collision insurance helps pay for damages caused by a collision when you are at fault, like when you hit someone else’s car. A comprehensive policy, on the other hand, covers events that are deemed outside of your control. This can be anything from storm damage to vandalism.

You may have heard the term “acts of God” in reference to comprehensive auto insurance. This term often refers to natural disasters and severe weather. Since the property damage that comes from extreme weather is beyond any of our control, it would be covered under your comprehensive insurance policy as an act of God.

Even if you have comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy, certain damages may not be covered. It depends on the policy you picked, your coverage limit, and your deductible amount.

For one, there may be restrictions based on where you live. Some insurance companies restrict policies from covering damage from specific weather events, especially if a location is prone to the event. If you’re not sure if your policy has restrictions, you can review your policy documents or get in touch with your insurance agent to find out.

Insurance companies can also have a binding restriction for acts of God. This restriction prevents you from filing an insurance claim about a known disaster—whether it is already happening or you know it is coming. For example, if you purchase a new policy after a storm warning has already been issued, a binding restriction says you can’t file a car insurance claim for damages from that storm. Car insurance companies use this restriction to protect themselves against an onslaught of claims during a storm. But it can be a serious problem if you don’t have enough car insurance coverage ahead of time.

Because of this, it’s important to get the right insurance coverage before you need it. If your current policy lacks coverage, it’s a good idea to compare insurance rates and insurance providers before picking your new policy. Insurify helps you do just that. In as little as a few minutes, you can see affordable car insurance quotes tailored to your ideal coverage.

Hurricane Damage

More and more states are facing the effects of hurricane season, but coastal residents of Southern states like Florida and Louisiana are no stranger to the devastating damage a hurricane can cause. The combination of high winds, rainfall, and storm surges can cause serious damage to any personal property you own, your car included.

Fortunately, comprehensive coverage covers damage to your vehicle from a hurricane, as long as you purchase your policy before a hurricane warning is in effect.

Wildfire Damage

The year has been especially tough for the West Coast when it comes to wildfires. But wildfires can cause damage to cars even when they are far from the fire itself. Even if your car isn’t scorched in a blaze, your vehicle’s paint can be damaged by falling ash and soot, which become corrosive when wet.

Damage from wildfires is typically included in comprehensive coverage policies. But similar to other natural disasters, you may not be able to add the coverage if a fire has already broken out near you.

Flood Damage

Heavy rains and tropical storms can quickly lead to flooding in certain areas. This can be bad news for your car. Floodwaters can lead to mold and mildew on interior fabrics, and if the water level rises enough, your engine and electrical components can be damaged as well.

While you might already have flood insurance on your home if you live in an at-risk area, homeowner’s insurance won’t cover the cost of repairing your car from flood damage. Comprehensive coverage on an auto insurance policy is what covers water damage to vehicles following a flood.

Hail Damage

When hail the size of golfballs rains down during a storm, it can lead to dents on your vehicle and even broken glass. When mixed with rain or snow, you might face water damage as well.

Whether your glass is cracked from hail or your hood is covered in dents, comprehensive coverage will cover hail damage to your vehicle.

Earthquake Damage

Earthquakes can lead to all sorts of damage. Buildings can collapse, debris may begin to fall from above, and other disasters like landslides can be set off. This means your car could be damaged by falling objects as a result.

Comprehensive coverage typically considers earthquakes a covered peril, so you would be able to file a claim for earthquake damage to your vehicle.

Insure your car against damage from natural disasters today by comparing policies on Insurify.

Can I write off car damage from natural disasters?

If your car is damaged from a natural disaster, you may be able to write off a portion of your damages on your taxes. But as with many tax write-offs, there’s a bit of calculation involved in the process.

The IRS has specific rules regarding what and how you can write off as a casualty loss from a natural disaster. It’s important not to include any losses from wear and tear and to file an insurance claim in the appropriate time frame to claim this deduction.

You should also keep in mind that even if your car is considered a total loss after a natural disaster, you won’t be able to deduct the full replacement cost when you file your taxes. The IRS requires that you adjust the amount of your deduction by a few factors, like the reimbursement you received from your insurance company, as well as standardized adjustments. In most cases, you also need to claim the deduction in the same tax year that the loss occurred.

According to the IRS website, claiming a deduction for losses from a disaster can be accomplished using Form 4684 and Schedule A itemized deductions. But if you’re like most people who aren’t totally tax-savvy, it’s a good idea to use a tax preparation software or certified tax professional to help you out with the process.

Check out our guide to car insurance and taxes to see if you’re eligible to write off certain car-related payments.

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One Way to Make Sure You’re Always Protected

Natural disasters aren’t just stressful to endure; they can also be costly. With the right car insurance, you can make sure you have one less thing to worry about when an act of God happens.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to what the best car insurance coverage is, but yours should balance the coverage you need with a price you can afford. Of course, if you live in a place where natural disasters strike frequently, comprehensive car insurance coverage should be part of your policy. Without it, you could be facing massive out-of-pocket costs in the future.

When you’re ready to find the best coverage for you, check out Insurify. You can get personalized quotes in just a few minutes to you make sure your vehicle (and finances) is protected, come hell or high water.

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  • Data scientists at Insurify analyzed over 40 million auto insurance rates across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how their car insurance premiums are priced by companies.

Mandie Kelleher
Mandie Kelleher

Insurance Writer

Mandie Kelleher is a freelance content writer for financial services and personal finance. With a background in financial administration, and teaching, she crafts content that deepens her readers' understanding by making complex topics simple. You can learn more about Mandie by visiting her site, mandiekelleher.com.

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