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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Ava Lynch

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Ava joined The Zebra as a writer and licensed insurance agent in 2016. She now works as a senior insurance contributor, providing insights and data a…

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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 let us help you check out quotes based on your unique driver profile.

Key Takeaways:

  • Comprehensive coverage is usually combined with collision coverage and can protect you against damages from things like falling debris or lightning
  • The rates for comprehensive coverage are dependent on the value of your car and the deductible you want for your policy
  • Any claim, in general, will raise your premium - but a comprehensive claim usually raises the amount much less than a collision claim
  • You may be required to carry full coverage if your vehicle is leased or financed, but is a good idea for any car valued at over $4,000

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.

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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.

Average Full Coverage Rates with a $1,000 Deductible
Company Avg. Annual Premium Avg. Monthly Premium
USAA $1,189 $99
Nationwide $1,343 $112
GEICO $1,348 $112
State Farm $1,457 $121
Farmers $1,616 $135
Progressive $1,668 $139
Allstate $2,118 $177
Average Full Coverage Rates with a $500 Deductible
Company Avg. Annual Premium Avg. Monthly Premium
USAA $1,365 $114
Nationwide $1,476 $123
GEICO $1,542 $129
State Farm $1,569 $131
Farmers $1,786 $149
Progressive $1,886 $157
Allstate $2,413 $201

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool data methodology — auto insurance

The auto insurance rates displayed throughout this page come from The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool, a proprietary insurance premium estimator that uses the most recent rate filings across the United States at the ZIP code level to provide up-to-date rate data. Most insurance companies file car insurance rates one to two times a year. This data comes from Quadrant Information Services, which sources the latest approved rate filings across carriers in each state from S&P Global. Quadrant then uses an internal QA process to validate the information and build reports before the data is programmed into The Zebra’s dynamic rating tool.

Rates are based on a sample driver profile — a 30-year-old single male driver with a Honda Accord and full coverage at these levels:

  • $50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident for bodily injury liability
  • $50,000 per incident for property damage liability
  • $500 deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage

To provide insight to consumers on how specific personal factors (like age, location and coverage level) can affect your premium, this base profile is then adjusted for different factors commonly used by insurance companies. For more information, see our full data methodology.

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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See rates from top insurers today.

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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.

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

We have this broken down to compare average rates for drivers with no comprehensive claims, as well as one or two claims. Insurance companies will typically charge the increased amount for three years after a claim. 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 a good time to shop around for car insurance companies.


Use our handy claims calculator to find out whether you should file a claim.


Is comprehensive coverage required?

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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 before you start to wave goodbye.

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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 editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
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