Your car should be insured in a hurricane or tropical storm — as long as you carry comprehensive coverage.
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 coverage 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 insurers often restrict new policies and updates during storms.
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:
A hurricane or tropical storm could harm your vehicle in a variety of ways, including:
A hurricane can damage a car in myriad ways. 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.
In order to be protected for damage caused by a hurricane, you need to have comprehensive coverage on your insurance policy prior to an active storm warning in your area. Most insurance companies place a “binding restriction” on an area as a storm approaches. 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.
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 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.
|Coverage Level||Average Annual Premium|
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.
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 are collision claims. On average, a comprehensive insurance claim will increase your premium $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.
|Year After Accident||Average Annual Premium|
|0 (no accident)||$1,427|
|1 Year Later||$1,525|
|2 Years Later||$1,623|
|3 Years Later||$1,721|
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 is 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!
Between September and December 2017, The Zebra conducted comprehensive auto insurance pricing analysis using its proprietary quote engine, comprising data from insurance rating platforms and public rate filings. The Zebra examined nearly 53 million rates to explore trends for specific auto insurance rating factors across all United States zip codes, averaged by state, including Washington, DC.
Analysis used a consistent base profile for the insured driver: a 30-year-old single male driving a 2013 Honda Accord EX with a good driving history and coverage limits of $50,000 bodily injury liability per person/$100,000 bodily injury liability per accident/$50,000 property damage liability per accident with a $500 deductible for comprehensive and collision. For coverage level data, optional coverage (that must be rejected in writing) is included where applicable, including uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection.
National property and casualty losses information is from the Insurance Information Institute and the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters report.
For vehicle make and model data, analysis referenced the most popular vehicles in the U.S. by 2016 year-end sales according to Goodcarbadcar.net’s automakers’ data.