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How to insure your car in a hurricane

Hurricanes are some of the most destructive natural disasters faced by the United States. Residents of certain coastal areas must contend not only with strong, sustained winds, but also flooding. Having the right car insurance is critical for protecting your investment. If you have comprehensive coverage, your car insurance will cover hurricane damage. Comprehensive insurance is not required by law, but it insures your car against damages sustained in circumstances other than a vehicular accident. It's important to note that you must carry comprehensive coverage in advance of the hurricane or tropical storm's arrival, as even the best insurers often restrict new policies and updates during storms. 

Key Takeaways:
  • To be covered from hurricane damage, you'll need to have comprehensive insurance on your vehicle
  • Hurricanes can cause more than just flooding - consider a tree falling on your car, corrosion from saltwater or wind tossing other large items at your vehicle
  • Keep in mind that an insurance payout would take depreciation of the vehicle into consideration, as well as subtract your deductible
  • Your rates will likely increase after a comprehensive claim, but not as much as they would for an at-fault collision claim

Does car insurance cover flooding from a hurricane?

Damage your vehicle sustains in a hurricane is covered by comprehensive coverage. This applies to policies from most insurance companies, in most states. If you have State Farm coverage and live in Louisiana, you would have the same hurricane and flood coverage as someone in Texas, insured by Progressive.

Comprehensive coverage can provide protection for the following losses:

  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Hail/lightning
  • Weather or flood damage
weather damage

A hurricane or tropical storm could harm your vehicle in a variety of ways, including:

  • An uprooted tree or branch lands on the vehicle
  • Strong winds flip the vehicle
  • Unsecured items hit the vehicle
  • Wind damage
  • Water damage
  • Corrosion caused by saltwater exposure
  • Mechanical damage caused by water exposure

 

Auto insurance will cover each of these scenarios, as long as the storm was the cause of the damage. The damage needs to have been caused by a "covered peril" — one of the factors listed above — in order for your insurer to cover it.

 

How can I get hurricane car insurance?

In order to be protected after damage caused by a hurricane, you need to have comprehensive coverage on your insurance policy prior to an active storm warning in your area. As a storm approaches, most insurance companies place a “binding restriction” on a geographical area. The insurer will restrict new lines of business and changes to existing policies. If you don’t have comprehensive coverage prior to a hurricane warning, you may be unable to add it to your policy.

To be fully protected, you'll want to have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle prior to a hurricane.

insurance quote
Do I need comprehensive coverage?

The possibility of hurricane or tropical storm damage is not the only reason to have comprehensive coverage. If you have a loan on your vehicle or are leasing your car, you’ll probably carry the required comprehensive and collision coverage. If your vehicle is owned and paid off but is worth more than $4,000, collision and comprehensive coverages — sometimes referred to as full coverage — can insure your asset against physical damage.

money key
How much does car insurance for hurricanes cost?

The cost of a comprehensive insurance policy is tied to the value of your vehicle. For the typical US driver, adding comprehensive and collision coverage to a moderately priced sedan would raise premiums by an average of $675 per year. The table below shows the average rates for liability coverage only, as well as full coverage with deductibles of both $500 and $1,000. 

Coverage Avg. Annual Premium
Liability Only $597
Full Coverage with $1,000 Deductible $1,554
Full Coverage with $500 Deductible $1,760
Updated: 10/04/22.

Dynamic auto insurance data methodology

Methodology: The auto insurance rates displayed above and throughout this page are dynamic, meaning the data will refresh when the most recent information is made available. Rates are based on a sample driver profile — a 30-year-old single male driver with a Honda Accord and full coverage. This profile was adjusted based on common pricing factors used by major car insurance companies, like age, coverage level, driving record and others.


How does car insurance pay out after a hurricane or tropical storm?

Most policies are reimbursed on a replacement cost value. Unfortunately, replacement cost value factors in vehicle value depreciation. For example, if you paid $18,000 for your vehicle two years ago, but it was only worth $13,000 when it was totaled, you'll only receive $13,000 minus the cost of your deductible as a claims payout after a hurricane.

It’s important to understand there isn’t a “hurricane deductible” that varies from a standard comprehensive claim. Each claim falls under the same umbrella of comprehensive coverage and is subject to the same deductible. Check out our article on when and how to file a claim for more information about the claims process.

piggy bank

Will my car insurance premium increase after a hurricane?

Yes — your premium can increase after a hurricane for several reasons. If you filed a comprehensive claim after a hurricane, your rates will tick up accordingly. Comprehensive claims are typically less impactful than collision claims. On average, a comprehensive insurance claim will increase your premium by $98 per year. Most insurance companies will keep this violation on your policy for three years. So that $98 will stretch to a total rate increase of $294.

Comprehensive claims affect your rates less than collision claims, but you can still expect a premium increase after a claim.

Accident/Violation Avg. Monthly Premium Avg. Annual Premium
None $147 $1,759
One comp claim $154 $1,849
Two comp claims $161 $1,936
Updated: 10/04/22.

Considering how destructive hurricanes can be, this rate increase will be a drop in the bucket compared to potential out-of-pocket expenses. Hurricanes can also lead to price increases through rate revisions. Car insurance companies use historical data from previous years to price this year's premiums. So, if the previous year had a higher number of claims payouts, premiums will be set higher to offset their losses. Because hurricanes impact a number of clients and result in total losses, they can impact an insurance company’s financial health.

If your premium is affected by a comprehensive claim or a rate revision, consider this a good opportunity to shop for car insurance. Not every company will have suffered the same financial losses after a hurricane or penalize you as heavily. Enter your ZIP code below to see how much you could be saving!

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RECENT QUESTIONS

What covers my flood damaged car?

Comprehensive coverage is insurance that specifically covers your vehicle against damage due to weather events like flooding and basically anything other than an accident. As long as the damage is more than your comprehensive deductible then your vehicle will be repaired by your insurance company once you have paid your deductible.
Mar 6, 2016 Mobile, AL

My motorcycle was in the back of my friend’s truck, which flooded and went downstream. Would his insurance cover the motorcycle?

I'm sorry but your friend's insurance company would not be responsible for your motorcycle since car insurance does not cover the contents of the vehicle, which is what the motorcycle would be considered. If you have comprehensive coverage on the motorcycle, your insurance company will likely cover the claim.
Jul 22, 2019 Hico, TX

Do I need to buy a flood insurance policy for my car?

While it is correct that your home will need a separate policy for flood coverage, you do not need it for your auto insurance as long as you have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive covers things like fire, theft, vandalism, and flooding.
Feb 26, 2017 Biloxi, MS

Am I covered while I'm moving to a new state?

I'm so sorry to hear about your accident during such a transitional and inconvenient time! I would contact your insurance company in Oregon and talk to the claims department to see if this will be covered. Many companies provide a grace period for you to obtain other insurance while you are moving to another state.
Jul 22, 2022 Atlanta, GA

Ava Lynch photo
Ava LynchSenior Analyst

Ava joined The Zebra as a writer and licensed insurance agent in 2016. She now works as a senior analyst, providing insights and data analysis as one of The Zebra's property and casualty insurance experts.

Ava’s insurance career began as an agent with Farmers Insurance. Over the years, she has become an authority in all things property and casualty insurance, helping her to write informative guides for shoppers.

Ava’s work has been cited in publications such as InvestopediaThe BalanceMoney.comLiberty Mutual, U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, Car and Driver and Yahoo! Finance.

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.