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Does car insurance cover acts of God?

Cover the unexpected by adding comprehensive to your policy.

Car insurance and acts of God

Many car insurance policies include provisions for acts of God — an insurance term that refers to earthquakes, floods or any situation outside of our control. Comprehensive coverage is the coverage that pays for this sort of damage. But comprehensive isn’t required to drive legally, so you have to add it to your policy at an extra cost.

You might hear comprehensive referred to as acts of God coverage, but insurance companies don’t use acts of God as an official coverage term. Instead, when insurers talk about it, it’s typically in the context of comprehensive coverage. Expect your insurer to look closely at your accident’s cause before determining that it was from an act of God.

What acts of God does comprehensive car insurance cover?

Along with protecting against acts of God like natural disasters or storms, comprehensive coverage may protect you from other events out of your control, like:

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Windshield cracks or chips
  • Animal damage
  • Explosions and fire
  • Glass damage
  • Falling objects
  • Terrorism

When you submit a claim for an accident resulting from an “act of God,” you must provide as much documentation as possible to prove that the damage falls within the insurer’s definition of this term. Your car insurer may deny your claim if it believes you could have taken preventive measures to avoid the accident — for example, moving your car out of the way of planned construction.

What’s not considered an act of God?

Comprehensive coverage typically does not cover damage that results from:

  • Negligence. Your insurer may deny your claim if it thinks you’re responsible for an accident because you failed to generally maintain your car. For example, you could be on your own for a windshield replacement if your insurer finds that it grew out of a smaller crack.
  • Mechanical breakdown. A car warranty or roadside assistance can cover mechanical problems.
  • Wear and tear. Blown tires and peeling paint aren’t typically covered by comprehensive.
  • Car accidents. Collision coverage is designed to protect you against repair costs that come out of an accident on the road. Accidents caused by an underinsured driver may require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for payment toward repairs.
  • Hit-and-runs. Damage caused by other drivers is often covered under that driver’s insurance, if you’re able to get that information. Otherwise, you may need uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

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How much is comprehensive coverage to cover acts of God?

Comprehensive coverage that protects you against acts of God can cost about $134 a year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. However, your exact costs will depend on your provider, claims history and car value.

You’ll often be able to get other perks by adding collision and comprehensive to your policy, such as rental car reimbursement or roadside assistance.

Should I get comprehensive coverage?

If you are at a high risk for covered acts of God, like tornadoes, flooding or earthquakes, comprehensive coverage may be worth adding to your policy. It also works well if you’re looking for broad physical damage protection.

However, you might want to go without comprehensive coverage if you rarely drive or drive an older car that’s not worth the extra costs.

Bottom line

Protecting your car from acts of God can mean the difference between paying out of pocket for natural disasters, fire or falling objects and submitting a claim for reimbursement. But it doesn’t cover acts of negligence, breakdowns or car collisions.

To get the best coverage and value for you, compare auto insurers that offer comprehensive coverage.

Frequently asked questions about acts of God and insurance

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