Is My Car Covered if I Drive in a Heavy Storm?

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A liability-only car insurance policy will not cover damage your car incurs during a storm. However, your policy should cover storm damage if you purchase comprehensive coverage. In addition, collision coverage insures your vehicle in case you get into a car accident while driving in a storm.

Keep reading for a more in-depth overview of how car insurance covers storm damage and what steps you should take if your vehicle becomes undrivable amid bad weather.

Key Takeaways

  • If you only have the minimum amount of coverage required in your state, your car insurance policy likely won’t cover storm damage.
  • Comprehensive coverage is required by most lenders and it generally covers storm damage from sources like hail, lightning, wind and flooding.
  • Collision coverage is also required by most lenders and it can pay to repair or replace your vehicle if you crash into an object or another car while driving through a storm.
  • You should only file a car insurance claim for weather-related damages if the cost of repairs is higher than your deductible.
  • FEMA may provide additional financial support if your car was damaged in a federally declared disaster and meets certain criteria.

Does Car Insurance Cover Storm Damage?

A basic car insurance policy that only includes state-mandated liability insurance can take care of another person’s medical bills and property repairs if you injure them or damage their property while driving during a storm, along with legal fees if they sue you after the accident. However, this type of policy won’t cover any damage your vehicle incurs during the storm.

If you get into a car accident while driving in bad weather and the other driver is found to be at fault, their bodily injury liability insurance or property damage liability insurance would likely take care of your medical expenses or repair costs, respectively.

However, no type of liability auto insurance will cover damage to your car that is caused by the storm itself.

What Type of Car Insurance Covers Storm Damage?

For more extensive storm damage coverage, you will need to purchase the two physical damage coverage types: comprehensive and collision insurance. Comprehensive and collision coverage are not required by law in any state but many lenders and lessors require them for drivers who need to finance or lease their vehicles.

Collision coverage can pay to repair or replace your vehicle after a car accident even if you are the at-fault driver. For example, your collision insurance could kick in if you started hydroplaning amid heavy rains and slammed into another car, a guardrail or a ditch.

Conversely, comprehensive coverage insures your vehicle against a wide array of non-collision perils including natural disasters, animal strikes and intentional damages caused by other people like thieves and vandals.

Comprehensive insurance covers multiple perils that could affect your car during a storm such as hail, lightning, falling tree branches and various types of wind damage caused by hurricanes and tornadoes. A comprehensive policy can even cover damage from floods and earthquakes, which you might not have expected since these perils are typically excluded from homeowners insurance coverage.[1]

Your comprehensive insurance may also cover damage caused by road debris, although it’s possible that certain types of flying road debris such as tar and gravel could be excluded.[2] Ultimately, your insurer could opt to exclude coverage for any of the acts of God covered by a typical comprehensive insurance policy, so it’s important to go over your policy statement to make sure you understand the specifics of your car insurance coverage.[3]

What Should I Do if My Car Is Damaged by a Storm?

After a storm, you should first assess any damage to your vehicle and determine whether it’s severe enough to justify contacting your insurance company and scheduling a time for an adjuster to inspect the damage. Keep in mind that filing a claim can raise your rates and there’s no point in filing a claim unless the cost of repairs exceeds your deductible, which is the minimum amount of money you have to contribute out of pocket toward every claim.

deductible and carriers payment share illustration

If you decide to go through with your storm damage insurance claims, it’s important to prevent additional damage by sealing or covering cracked windows or windshields and making other minor repairs as necessary. You should also dry the car out as thoroughly as possible once the storm ends to avoid a long-lasting odor and rusting or other kinds of internal water damage.

Your auto insurance policy won’t cover any belongings inside of your vehicle that were damaged during a storm. Instead, you should file a homeowners insurance claim for lost items since they are covered by your personal property insurance.

You can take these steps to file a car insurance claim whenever your car is damaged during a storm:

  1. If the damage was caused by a car crash, call 911 so first responders can tend to anyone who is injured and police officers can fill out a police report.
  2. Take pictures or videos of the damaged parts of your vehicle and, if the damage was caused by a car crash, exchange contact information with the other driver.
  3. Reach out to your insurance carrier to let them know about the damage and submit relevant documentation such as photos and police reports.
  4. Make sure you know what your deductible and coverage limits are so you can get a good idea of how much money you can expect to receive from your insurance provider.
  5. Contact an auto shop to get a quote for repairs.
  6. Accept your insurance payout if you believe the settlement is appropriate and use the money to get your car fixed.

If your claim is denied or the insurance settlement doesn’t fully cover the cost of repairs or replacements, you may be able to turn to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program can pay to help you repair or replace a vehicle damaged by a federally declared disaster under certain circumstances. For example, a damaged vehicle may be eligible if it was properly insured and either it was your only vehicle or you can certify that your family needs the damaged vehicle daily.[4]

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Are there scenarios where full coverage covers storm damage?

Full coverage generally includes comprehensive insurance, which means a full coverage policy should cover any kind of storm damage unless your policy explicitly excludes it.

Are hurricanes covered by car insurance?

Your car insurance should cover hurricane damage as long as your policy includes comprehensive coverage.

Is my car covered for flood damage?

Your car insurance should cover flood damage as long as your policy includes comprehensive coverage.

Does car insurance cover wind damage?

Damage from tornadoes and other windstorms should be covered by your car insurance as long as your policy includes comprehensive coverage.

Does car insurance cover damage from natural disasters?

Comprehensive car insurance usually covers damage from natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and thunderstorms.


  1. Liberty Mutual. “Comprehensive Car Insurance: What Is It?” Accessed Oct. 26, 2023.
  2. American Family Insurance. “Does Car Insurance Cover Storm Damage?” Accessed Oct. 26, 2023.
  3. Lemonade. “What Are Car Insurance Exclusions?” Accessed Oct. 26, 2023.
  4. Federal Emergency Management Agency. “FEMA Assistance for Other Needs.” Accessed Oct. 26, 2023.

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