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Does Car Insurance Cover Tornado Damage?

By Jarrod Heil

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If your car insurance policy includes comprehensive coverage, you’re protected against tornado damage. However, comprehensive coverage is the only type of auto insurance protection that will cover tornado damage, so you’re out of luck if you simply have liability or collision coverage.

Luckily, many people do have comprehensive coverage because they either lease or finance their vehicle. If you’re included in either scenario, the company you lease your vehicle from or the company that finances your vehicle will require you to have comprehensive coverage in order to protect their investment.

Let’s take a look at what comprehensive coverage is, why some entities require it, how to get it and the effects of filing a comprehensive claim for tornado damage.

What Is Comprehensive Coverage for Tornado Damage?

Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle from damage caused by external sources or that don’t involve another vehicle, including tornadoes, hurricanes, theft and vandalism, falling objects and even flooding.

So any damage to your vehicle caused by a tornado should be covered by your auto insurer as long as the damage was directly due to the tornado. So let’s break down a few scenarios of tornado damage that should be covered by your policy.

If a tornado rolls through your neighborhood, picks up your car and hurls it across the street, caving in the roof and breaking all the glass windows, your policy should cover the damage because the tornado was directly responsible.

If a tornado narrowly misses your car (which we really hope is the case), but it knocks a tree in your front yard onto your car, caving in the roof or any other part of the vehicle, you should also be covered because, again, the tornado was responsible for the damage.

If you’re driving along and you get distracted by a tornado that’s eerily close to you, causing you to accidentally run into your neighbor’s mailbox or car, comprehensive wouldn’t be the coverage you’d call on for protection. This would fall under collision or liability coverage, depending on which you have in your policy.

When You Need Comprehensive Coverage

The only times you’re required to have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle are if the vehicle is leased or if you’re still financing the vehicle. Lending companies require drivers to maintain comprehensive coverage because the lender still technically owns the vehicle, and they want to protect their investment as best as possible.

If you’re leasing the vehicle, that likely doesn’t come as a surprise to you, especially since you may also have to pay for any scratches sustained to the vehicle. But those who own their vehicle but are still financing it may be a bit surprised to find out comprehensive coverage is required.

Even if you own your vehicle outright, you may still want to keep comprehensive coverage because it still protects your vehicle from a number of external damages. You’ll especially want to keep comprehensive coverage if you live in a hurricane-prone state like Florida, Georgia, South Carolina or North Carolina, or if you live in a tornado-prone area like Oklahoma.

You should also know that insurers operate in regards to binding restrictions, so they can restrict drivers from adding comprehensive coverage to their policy when a storm is set to hit the area. They do this so drivers don’t just add comprehensive coverage before a storm and cancel the coverage after it passes.

However, if your car is more than 10 years old or if its value is nearing the cost of two to three years’ worth of annual premiums, you may be OK dropping comprehensive coverage on the vehicle. At that point, the vehicle’s value may have decreased so much that paying for the extra coverage doesn’t make the most financial sense.

Will a Tornado Damage Claim Increase My Premiums?

Filing an auto insurance claim for tornado damage will likely increase your premiums because it still counts as a claim against your carrier. However, comprehensive claims typically don’t increase your premiums nearly as much as an accident, especially if you were at fault, because the damage likely had nothing to do with your driving.

How to Get Comprehensive Car Insurance for Storm Damage

Getting comprehensive car insurance for storm damage — and to simply maintain it throughout the life of your policy — is easy and quick when you choose Clovered. Simply fill out some information about your vehicle and driving history in our online quote form and we’ll do the rest. Your information will be fed to one of our in-house agents who will pair you with a policy that fits your needs and your budget.

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