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.
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:
- Weather or flood 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.
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.
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|
|Full Coverage with $1,000 Deductible||$1,554|
|Full Coverage with $500 Deductible||$1,760|
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.
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|
|One comp claim||$154||$1,849|
|Two comp claims||$161||$1,936|
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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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.