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Does car insurance cover storm damage?

How to get covered and file a car insurance claim for storm damage

You’re able to claim damage to your vehicle caused by a storm if you have comprehensive coverage. As with all insurance types, there are exceptions. And to make a successful claim, you may want to take a few extra steps to nail down the details of what exactly caused the damage.

Am I covered for storm damage?

First, you need to know if your car insurance policy actually covers storm damage. Typically, you’ll be covered if you have comprehensive insurance. But having the state-minimum required liability insurance won’t protect you against storm damage.

Many insurers provide your policy information online. Sign in to your account and navigate to the page that lists your coverage details to find out what you have.

For example, if your provider is Progressive and select your auto policy, then choose View under Coverage. All of the information that’s listed on the declarations page is included here. If not, call your insurance provider to learn if you have comprehensive coverage.

Types of storm damage covered by comprehensive policies

General storm damage caused by intense weather can come in many forms. Your region might be susceptible to hurricanes, or your state might get frequent hail storms.

Some types of storm damage that are generally covered under comprehensive include:

  • Wind. Comprehensive covers damage directly caused by wind, such as windows broken by debris. Or if severe wind gusts topple a tree onto your car, comprehensive should cover you.
  • Hail. A powerful hail storm can leave dents on the entire body of your car, as well as broken windows. If you don’t have comprehensive, you won’t be covered.
  • Flood. If a severe storm causes flooding that damages your vehicle, comprehensive can help cover the costs. However, if your car is damaged due to a window being left open, you won’t be covered.
  • Hurricane. A hurricane can bring strong winds and flooding — a double whammy. Hurricane damage falls under the general storm damage covered by comprehensive.
  • Tornado. Tornadoes can flip your car or send debris flying into it even if it’s parked in your garage. You may be liable for damage your car causes to other property if it’s picked up by strong winds.

How does car insurance cover an act of God?

Typically “acts of God” or natural disasters are included with your comprehensive coverage. This could include an earthquake, flood, lightning strike or wildfire that caused damage to your car.

When won’t I be covered for storm damage?

If you don’t have comprehensive car insurance, you won’t be covered against storm damage to your vehicle.

However, even if you have comprehensive insurance there are some cases your claim may be denied. Usually this happens if your insurer discovers the incident was preventable.

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How to file a claim for storm damage

Filing a claim for storm damage is done the same way as filing a claim after a car accident, and each insurer’s process is a little different.

You’ll need to send in a claims form and the documentation, either online or through the mail. Online will usually get you a faster response.

  • Fill out the claims form provided by your insurer. It will have sections for all the relevant information.
  • Send in your photos using the tools provided. In many cases your insurer will simply specify an email address you should send them to.

Your comprehensive car insurance policy may also cover a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired. If the storm has also damaged your home, you will need to check your homeowners insurance policy to see what types of storm damage are covered.

What info will I need?

  • Your name, address and driver’s license number
  • Your insurance policy number
  • The date and, if possible, the exact time the damage occurred
  • Any other information requested by the insurer

    Checklist: Documenting the damage

    The easiest way to document any damage details is with photos. Follow these five steps to ensure capturing the best possible image.

    1. Get the whole picture. Take full-scene photos to show what happened, where your car was parked and the surroundings.
    2. Move to details. Take close-ups to show specific damage. You don’t need to take a separate picture of each dent, but you should make sure that all damage is clearly shown in the photos.
    3. Label where necessary. Label the photos with descriptions such as “driver-side door” for clarity.
    4. Remember to check the interior. Document the damage as fully as possible.
    5. Consider taking a full video. Consider taking full video along with photos as further evidence if time allows and it’s safe to do so.

    What to do after storm damage to your car

    • Stay safe. Check your surroundings. Is there broken glass or downed power lines? Keep out of harm’s way. Call for help if necessary.
    • Keep the car parked. It’s not safe to drive a damaged vehicle, and the insurer may reject your storm damage claim if you do.
    • Avoid removing debris without documenting it. Ideally, everything should stay as-is on the scene until your insurer gives the go-ahead. If you need to clear away dangerous glass or metal, or attempt a quick fix for safety reasons, take photos first.
    • Call your insurer as soon as possible. Note that if the storm affected widespread areas, customer service could be delayed.
    • Don’t authorize repairs without contacting your insurer first. Your insurance policy may not cover unapproved repairs.

    Top 3 ways to protect your car from storm damage

    Want to prevent future damage to your car? If you know what’s coming, take steps to protect your car ahead of the next bad storm.

    1. Know when bad weather is coming.

    Stay on top of the news with services like the National Weather Service, which has current weather updates. Also, sign up to receive warnings from insurers.

    Many insurers have started offering storm warning services. If your insurance company offers one of these, it might be worth subscribing to.

    2. Park your car somewhere safe.

    If there’s a hailstorm rolling in, you might want to get your car under cover. Pull your car into your garage or under the carport, or look for an underground parking garage, like in a shopping center. If you’re expecting heavy rain and have cause to be concerned, you might want to look for higher ground.

    Think twice before parking under a tree. Falling branches are often the result of heavy winds, and can cause as much damage as hail. Also watch out for loose roof tiles, TV antennas and anything else that might come from above.

    3. Use tarps or blankets.

    If there’s no time for anything else, this might be the way to go. Layers of blankets and heavier tarps generally work better. But remember to secure them so they don’t blow away.

    Bottom line

    A severe storm can cause a great amount of damage, including to your car. If this happens, filing a claim with your insurance provider is straightforward. Just be sure to follow the tips and steps laid out here.

    Frequently asked questions about storm damage

    How does a red weather alert affect my car insurance?
    Driving during dangerous weather is sometimes a must, so your claim for damages incurred shouldn’t be denied even if you knew conditions were bad. However, your claim might be denied for any standard reasons not related to weather, like if you were driving irresponsibly in bad weather and hit another car.

    How long does it take for a storm claim to be paid out?

    The process typically takes a few weeks. After making your claim, insurers typically have 15 days to respond and 30 days to accept or reject your claim.

    A natural disaster or a regional storm — like a major wildfire or category-four hurricane — can cause insurers to take longer to process your case because of the number of incoming claims.

    How can hail cause enough damage to total my car?
    It’s surprisingly easy for hail damage to cost more to repair than the vehicle is worth.

    One of the main reasons is that hail damage will typically be spread across the entire body of the car, so repairs can be quite labor-intensive.

    Picture: Shutterstock

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    4 Responses

      Default Gravatar
      TimJuly 2, 2019

      I was driving during a really bad storm. I went down a street that was flooded and now my motor is locked up and unrepairable. I did not see the signs that said the road was impassable during heavy rain. Will my comprehensive insurance cover it?

        Avatarfinder Customer Care
        fayemanuelJuly 3, 2019Staff

        Hi Tim,

        Thanks for contacting Finder.

        I’m sorry to hear that. This depends on the type of cover you have. Please contact your insurer or review your policy and check the benefits, limitations, terms, and conditions. Once you have a policy and clear benefits and limitations, you should have a good idea of when you can make a claim and what you are entitled to.

        You may further review our guide on how to process car insurance claims.

        Hope this helps.

        Please feel free to contact us at any time if any other questions arise.

        All the best.

        Best Regards,

      Default Gravatar
      DeNovember 21, 2018

      Good day,i want to know .I had a visitor and she parked her vehicle in open parking was windy and a frame with the window fell from third floor and damaged the door.pls advise

        Default Gravatar
        nikkiangcoNovember 23, 2018

        Hi De,

        Thanks for reaching out! Since she is parked in an open parking, she bears the risks of unforeseen accidents such as this. It would be best to contact her insurance provider to see if she will be covered for repair in this instance. Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.


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