Car Insurance Coverage for Natural Disasters

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Things to know...
  • Natural disasters are usually covered under comprehensive auto insurance
  • Drivers cannot rely on auto liability and collision coverage to pay for natural disaster losses
  • Comprehensive insurance may cover a man-made disaster
  • Comparison shopping for full and total insurance is recommended

Natural disasters affect people all over the world. Depending on where someone in the United States may live, the likelihood of certain natural disasters occurring remains high.

In Florida, hurricanes reap massive destruction even many miles from the coastline. In California, earthquakes are not exactly an everyday occurrence, but history shows monstrous earthquakes caused unbridled destruction.

Tornadoes strike areas of the Midwest and take entire homes apart. And no area is free from the potential consequences of a raging fire.

Stopping a natural disaster from occurring can’t be done. The laws of nature make this impossible. Science has not reached the point where nature can be defeated with technology, so people must rely on the laws of economics: they must insure their property.

A solid insurance policy brings the financial protection required to cover losses. Even natural disaster-inflicted losses inflicted on a vehicle could be covered.

Car owners must make sure their vehicle is covered by an auto insurance policy that addresses natural disasters.

Start comparison shopping today and get coverage for your car in case of a natural disaster! Enter your ZIP code above to begin!

Natural Disasters and Auto Insurance

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A natural disaster can be described as a severe or catastrophic event caused by “the natural processes of the earth.” Everything from hail storms to floods to brutal winds falls under the category of natural disasters.

Auto insurance refers to a contract between an owner/driver with an insurance company. The policyholder pays for insurance, and the insurance company pays for losses and costs related to viable claims.

If an auto insurance policy spells out natural disasters are covered, then a claim can be filed to recover losses. For the policy to explain such coverage, the policyholder must purchase comprehensive insurance.

Comprehensive Insurance Coverage Protection

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Comprehensive coverage pays for losses on a vehicle not related to a car accident. Car accidents entail being hit by either another vehicle, a pedestrian, someone on a bike, or even hitting an object on or off the road.

Auto liability insurance covers claims against the policyholder when he or she causes an accident and is wholly or partially at fault.

Collision insurance also comes into play when the driver’s negligence causes damage to their own car and wants the insurance company to pay for the loss.

Comprehensive insurance would cover damages outside the scope of auto liability and collision. Natural disasters commonly fall under the coverage protections of comprehensive insurance.

Typical instances of natural disaster losses coverage by comprehensive coverage could include:

  • Lightning striking a vehicle and cracking the windshield
  • Massive flooding causes water to get under the car and ruin the transmission
  • Embers from a wildfire spread and engulf a car in flames

Naturally, none of these instances involved an auto accident or collision of any kind. A car sometimes just ends up in the path of nature’s wrath. Hopefully, the right insurance is in place to cover the losses inflicted on the vehicle.

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Protection Against Man-Made Disasters

Strange and frightening things happen in nature. A common natural cause of a forest fire is lightning.

When lightning ignites dried leaves and wood, a fire results. The wind may blow burning embers causing the fire to spread. The fire may reach a populated area leading to car fires.

A claim against a loss could be filed under comprehensive coverage.

What happens is that the following single element was changed from the above scenario: an arsonist started the fire. Overall, probably nothing changes.

Man-made disasters likely are covered under a traditional comprehensive policy. In fact, if an arsonist were to pour gasoline on a vehicle and set it directly on fire, the incident would fall under comprehensive coverage.

Again, comprehensive insurance coverage supports claims not involving accidents. Natural disasters, vandalism, man-made disasters, and more fall under the protection of a comprehensive policy.

That said, policyholders do need to confirm their protections with an insurance provider

Natural Disasters and Exclusions

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Check the auto insurance contract to determine if natural disasters are covered with the purchase comprehensive insurance. Even if natural disasters are covered, read the contract closely to see which particular incidents are excluded.

There may not be any exclusions, which would be a good thing. However, exclusions might exist.

An exclusion refers to a particular peril outside the scope of coverage, therefore, if flooding were excluded, a claim based on flood damage would be denied.

The possibility may exist to purchase a rider that amends the current contract and expands coverage for a price. Of course, the option also exists to purchase a brand new policy without troubling exclusions.

Taking part in effective comparison shopping when first in the market for auto insurance might eliminate worries about exclusions.

Review three or four policy quotes allows a customer to figure out what particular policy would be beneficial when concerned about national disasters. Again, even though a current policy may be in place and nothing says the customer can’t buy a new one from another provider.

It is never too late to consider adding coverage.

People who live in an area where certain natural disasters commonly feel worried over potential weather related damages. They would be most likely to look closely at comprehensive insurance coverage.

Someone who lives in a relatively calm part of the country might not think about natural disaster damage.

The second news reports about weather incidents arise or a close call associated with the weather emerges, the time may be right to start thinking about comprehensive coverage options.

Not Really a Natural Disaster Issue

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What if lightning struck a tree branch that landed on the road and your car drove over it? Massive damage to the underside of the vehicle may result. The possibility exists that the auto insurance provider does not consider the claim to be viable under comprehensive coverage.

Mercifully, a claim initiated as a comprehensive loss might be moved to collision coverage. Drivers who carry both collision and comprehensive insurance probably won’t care about how the insurance company categorizes the loss.

Drivers with only comprehensive coverage, however, would be stuck personally covering the losses associated with the incident.

To repeat, it is a good idea to review a number of different auto insurance coverage options. Review several quotes and weigh the maximum amount of coverage possible in order to avoid being underinsured or not insured for any particular perils.

The Biggest Auto Insurance Peril

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The biggest risk a driver faces is the assumption they are covered for anything and everything under a liability-only policy.

Since comprehensive and collision coverages lack state mandated requirements to purchase, many drivers don’t buy them.

Unfortunately, drivers may not even really know what collision and comprehensive cover and what liability doesn’t cover.

Always read up on the topic of auto insurance. Understand what types of coverage exist and what they do. Being an informed auto insurance consumer just might save you a lot of money.

Looking to save on auto insurance and also properly protect your vehicle? Enter your ZIP code below and compare at least three to four policies today!

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