Does Car Insurance Cover Tornado Damage?

The best way to insure your vehicle against tornado damage is to carry comprehensive coverage.

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Tornado insurance for cars

The only way to insure your car against tornado damage is through comprehensive coverage. Collision and liability coverage offer no protection against tornadoes. Let's dive in and review what a comprehensive policy covers — and how much it typically costs. Of course, if you want the most accurate numbers, you should compare quotes based on your unique driver profile.

Is tornado damage covered by car insurance?
  1. What is comprehensive auto insurance?
  2. How much does comprehensive coverage cost?
  3. Will my insurance rates increase if I file a tornado claim?
  4. Do I need comprehensive coverage?
  5. Methodology

What is comprehensive coverage?

Comprehensive coverage, usually packaged with collision, protects your vehicle against damage caused outside of the course of normal driving. Think of it as coverage against instances aside from collisions with other cars. Comprehensive coverage accounts for the following damage categories:

  • Falling debris
  • Glass damage
  • Water damage
  • Lightning

Your car should be covered, as long as the damage was caused by the tornado itself.

The only caveat concerns binding restrictions. Binding restrictions are more common with floods and hurricanes, but can occur in the event of any natural disaster or severe weather. An insurance company can restrict new lines of business or changes to existing coverage weeks or days prior to a storm. Insurers do this to avoid exorbitant claims payouts from drivers adding coverage right before a storm. As long as you carry comprehensive coverage prior to a binding restriction, you should be covered.

Is comprehensive coverage expensive?

The cost of comprehensive auto insurance will depend on two things: the value of your vehicle and your specific deductible. Because comprehensive is designed to protect your vehicle, it will cost more for the insurance company to replace a pricier vehicle. If it costs more to replace it, your insurance company will charge you more to offset this.

The amount of your deductible and premium have an inverse relationship. If you raise one, you lower the other. Standard deductibles for comprehensive coverage range from $500 to $1,000 but may vary based on your insurer. The lower your deductible, the higher your premium.

We compared comprehensive coverage rates from top insurance companies across the US. Our user profile is outlined here.

Insurer Average Annual Premium
Nationwide $1,273
Allstate $1,902
Farmers $1,237
GEICO $1,091
Liberty Mutual $1,520
Progressive $1,793
USAA $967
State Farm $1,769

For those who qualify, USAA offers the cheapest rates with comprehensive and collision coverage added. This data is general, and won't apply in every situation. The best way to see how much this coverage will cost you is to get quotes. If you’re interested in seeing how much comprehensive coverage can cost you, enter your zip code below to compare rates.

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Will a tornado claim increase your premium?

Yes. Any claim will raise your premium. However, for a comprehensive claim, the rate increase is comparatively small compared to a collision or liability claim. Most insurance companies see comprehensive claims as occurring outside of the control of the driver. You didn't cause the tornado, so you shouldn't be penalized. The average rate increase after a comprehensive claim is around $100 per year.

Year After Accident Average Annual Premium
No Accident $1,427
1 Year Later $1,525
2 Years Later $1,623
3 Years Later $1,721

We have this broken down over a three year period, as that is how long an insurance company will charge for a violation. Altogether, you should expect a rate increase of $294. Still, considering natural disasters such as tornadoes tend to result in a total loss, it will be cheaper to file a claim.

Another way you can experience a rate increase after a tornado is through a rate revision. All insurance companies review their loss to gain rate at the end of each year in order to help price premiums in the future. If the previous year had a higher than average loss rate, which is common with natural disasters, you should expect your premium to be high going forward. Bear in mind, this rate revision will vary between companies. Meaning, if you experience a higher than average rate revision, consider that as a good time to shop around for car insurance companies.

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Is comprehensive coverage required?

There are three instances in which you may be compelled to c carry comprehensive coverage: if you are leasing a vehicle, financing a vehicle, or plan to resell the vehicle. Let’s break it down.

Leasing a vehicle

Because you’re expected to return your leased vehicle in near perfect condition, this coverage is required in order for the leasing agency to retain the value of the vehicle.

Financing your vehicle

This is similar to a leased vehicle. Because whoever you’re financing the vehicle from (dealership or bank) technically owns the vehicle, they will require you to maintain the value of the vehicle as well.

Looking to resell the vehicle

Even if you own the vehicle, having this coverage can still be a good idea if you want to resell the vehicle. Collision and comprehensive coverage are your only resources against physical damage to your vehicle. So, if you plan to resell the vehicle or want compensation after an accident, add comprehensive and collision to your insurance policy.

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Data sourcing and methods

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’s automakers’ data.

Finally, some rate data may vary slightly throughout report based on rounding.

Ava Lynch photo
Ava LynchSenior Analyst

Ava worked in the insurance industry as an agent for four-plus years.

Ava currently provides insights and data analysis as one of The Zebra's property and casualty insurance experts. Her work has been featured in publications such as 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.