Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

  • Comprehensive auto insurance could very well cover damages inflicted upon a car by a hurricane
  • Dropping comprehensive insurance might be ill-advised when living in a hurricane danger zone
  • Placing a car in a private garage offers no absolute protection from the devastation of a hurricane

Hurricanes are known for bringing forth a tremendous amount of destructive damage due to their:

  • heavy winds
  • incredible rainfall
  • massive flooding

Homes and businesses suffer, it seems, the most. Thankfully, homeowner and business insurance policies cover losses due to hurricanes. Interesting, news outlets and publications have asked a simple, albeit overlooked, question: “Will auto insurance cover hurricane damage?”

The question may seem odd, but only to someone who has not found him or herself inside a secure home on the eve of a storm and realizing his/her car sitting unprotected in a driveway.

Yes, a car could get wrecked in a hurricane. Recent history has revealed hurricanes can cause massive damage as evidenced by the brutality inflicted on the states of New Jersey and Florida.

Automobiles suffered major unavoidable damage thanks to Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Matthew. The good news here is hurricanes can be covered under automobile insurance provided the right insurance is in place.

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Basic Minimum Insurance Won’t Do

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Using both the state of New Jersey and Florida as examples, the mandated coverage in those states – along with many other states – only deals with liability.

Liability coverage is definitely important.

A decent amount of liability coverage protects someone from the financial repercussions from being negligent for hurting someone or causing property damage in an accident.

Liability insurance would not come into effect in the case of a hurricane. Getting hit by a hurricane makes the car and its owner “innocent victims” in a terrible situation.

The type of insurance needed to address the scenario is comprehensive auto insurance.

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The Simplicity of Comprehensive Coverage

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Comprehensive coverage pays for damages and losses to a car not associated with an accident. In a hurricane this damage could include:

  • smashed windows
  • flooded transmissions
  • impact from objects flying at incredible rates of speed

All of these particular instances of damage might be covered by a comprehensive policy. Filing a legitimate claim should lead to some level of recovery.

Comprehensive coverage does not protect against routine maintenance or normal wear and tear. Comprehensive definitely does not protect against negligence.

Someone who doesn’t change the oil and ruins a car’s engine is not exactly going to be able to file a claim.

What about the negligence associated with not protecting the vehicle in the eyes of a hurricane?

Someone who simply left his/her car on the street even though a hurricane was known to be arriving may or may not run into trouble filing a claim under such circumstances.

Questions of this nature can be a bit complicated to answer. Honestly, working with an insurance adjuster probably would be the best step to take here. An adjuster could represent the insured in such a “gray area” type situation.

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Canceling and Procuring Comprehensive

When a car is old or has a lot of miles on it, owners will cancel their comprehensive coverage.

Doing so makes sense for someone who is trying to save money on a budget and, honestly, would not get much money for an older, devalued vehicle.

The lack of risk for damage facing the vehicle may also lead to dropping comprehensive coverage. If the number of car thefts in the area is very limited and the vehicle is parked off of the street, dropping comprehensive coverage might make sense.

And then the news reports blare that a hurricane may be on the horizon.

Do not worry. Placing a simple call to the insurance provider to request comprehensive coverage is all that is required to add the insurance to the policy.

Generally, comprehensive insurance is very cheap. Paying a nominal sum of money now is required in order for the coverage to take effect.

The payment might be processed over the phone immediately and the coverage could go right into effect. Or, there may be a slight delay.

Anyone who wishes to add comprehensive coverage needs to avoid trying to do so at the last minute.

One thing to point out here is comprehensive coverage could always be removed if so desired. The entire policy does not need to be canceled. Instead, it would be amended.

The worry about a hurricane doing damage to a vehicle may lead some to rethink their attitude towards the “lack of necessity” associated with a comprehensive policy.

Receiving $2,000 for an old car is definitely better than nothing. The $2,000 could be used as a downpayment on a new vehicle.

With liability insurance, people do think about the financial dangers associated with being liable for an accident. Not everyone thinks about all the out of pocket expenses that could be saved by paying a little extra per year to acquire comprehensive and collision insurance.

Of course, there are other steps an owner could take to reduce the chances of an accident.

Moving to Higher Ground Helps

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Taking a vehicle to a safe location or, better yet, to a private garage for short-term storage may protect the vehicle. Granted, no one can guarantee any location near a hurricane is completely safe.

No one can guarantee the security of the location can be maintained under such chaotic emergency conditions. Cars could be stolen. Comprehensive coverage would protect against such losses.

Herein lies another important point. Damage from the actual hurricane is not the only risk a car faces.

  • Heavy winds could turn over the car for sure.
  • Flooding underneath the vehicle might total it.
  • Any structure the vehicle is placed in could be at risk.

Imagine if the roof of a garage collapsed and the car was crushed. Anyone who thinks such a scenario is born of a fiction novel has not looked at photographs of the post-hurricane damage.

Hurricanes cause all manner of misery. This needs to be kept in mind by anyone who thinking about dropping comprehensive coverage.

In fact, some might choose to increase the comprehensive coverage after learning of the potential damage a hurricane may bring.

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Not All Comprehensive is the Same

Different insurance providers deliver different rates for the following coverage types:

  • liability
  • collision
  • comprehensive

Comparison shopping should reveal many different policies at different prices. Those who are worried about the haunting weather associated with hurricane problems positively should perform comparison shopping to figure out a good deal.

Use our free rate comparison tool today to find the coverage you desire at the best price.