Solar Eclipse April 8: Accidents and Losses To Avoid

secure Editorial Standards

SmartFinancial Offers Unbiased, Fact-based Information. Our fact-checked articles are intended to educate insurance shoppers so they can make the right buying decisions. Learn More

There is a total solar eclipse happening on Monday April 8, 2024, which is quite rare. In fact, it will be the last total solar eclipse seen from the contiguous United States until 2044.

Fifteen states from Texas to Maine, across Mexico into the middle and northern part of the United States, will experience total darkness. However, not every state will see a total eclipse.

For instance, Californians will only experience a partial solar eclipse, because the sun will be one-third to 50% blocked by the moon, depending on the exact location. A partial eclipse is something Californians won’t experience again until 2029.

A solar eclipse may damage your eyesight, cause car accidents and lead to injuries or property losses if entertaining at home. See what risks are out there before, during and after a solar eclipse.

Key Takeaways

  • It’s important to wear glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 standard if you plan to observe the solar eclipse.
  • It’s easy to damage the retina by staring into the sun, even for a few seconds.
  • The risk of having a car accident is high before, during and after the solar eclipse.
  • Make sure you have enough personal liability coverage on your home insurance if you are entertaining at home for the eclipse.

The Effects of Partial Eclipse: Damage to the Eyes

Even with a partial eclipse, it’s advised that people do not look directly into the sun, which can cause serious and irreversible eye damage. People who want to view the eclipse must wear special glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 standard.

There is all sorts of advice online about using aluminum foil, colanders and other makeshift tools to take a peek at the sun on Monday, but it’s best to get your hands on a pair of safe glasses, which are even being distributed for free in places like public libraries and Warby Parker stores.

Regular sunglasses, binoculars, camera lenses and telescopes without solar filters will not provide adequate protection. It’s not advised that you just buy eclipse glasses off the street either, because opportunists may sell you bogus shades without the right protection.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the 2017 solar eclipse had devastating consequences for a young woman whose retina was burned in the shape of the visible portion of the sun, after looking directly at the sun for only 20 seconds. There has been no way of repairing the damage, since.[1]

Some experts say to avoid looking at the sun directly, even with the right glasses. Even with health insurance, it’ll be costly treating a damaged retina, which cannot be healed by an ophthalmologist, if it is burned by the sun.

Traveling To See the Total Eclipse: Car Accidents Expected

There is the same amount of risk in taking to the road during the solar eclipse as there is on holidays like Thanksgiving, Memorial Day or the 4th of July. In 2017, an estimated 20 million people in the U.S. traveled away from home to another city to view the eclipse. The result was that 741 individuals were involved in fatal crashes over the 3-day eclipse event.[2]

This year, many people are driving to places, like Texas, Illinois, Ohio and New York for sightings of the total eclipse, with the hope of catching up to four minutes of a rare event.

If this is you, make sure to arrive well ahead of time so you do not get jammed in traffic. Taking your eyes off the road to look at the eclipse – and driving wearing the special glasses – will make you prone to having a car accident.

According to weather predictions, it’ll be cloudier the further north you go and visibility will not be great, so be extra careful driving. Reduce speed and avoid getting distracted. It’s also not advised that you drive around at the last minute, because you may get stuck in traffic.[1]

An increase in car accidents is expected on and around April 8th, so make sure you have adequate car insurance coverage, especially if you’re taking a road trip. In the days before, during and after the 2017 eclipse, there was a 31% rise in fatal traffic accidents.[2] The same is expected during this year’s eclipse.

Camping Out in the Yard

If you plan to experience the solar eclipse surrounded by friends and family, you’re sure to have a good time. However, the chances of trip-and-fall accidents increase whenever anyone throws a party on their property, and sightings of the solar eclipse are no different, especially if there is alcohol involved.

If someone is hurt on your property or their belongings are damaged, your homeowners insurance can pay for medical costs and property loss associated with accidents that happen in your home or in the yard.

Filing a claim is never fun, and it will increase your home insurance rate, but it sure beats paying the medical bills and property replacement out of pocket.


How often do total solar eclipses occur?

Total solar eclipses occur rarely, about once every 18 months somewhere on Earth. The next time the U.S. will witness a total eclipse is April 9, 2024 and then in 2044.

Can I photograph a total solar eclipse with my cell phone?

Photographing a total solar eclipse requires solar filters to prevent damage to the eye’s retina. It is important to take precautions to avoid damaging your eyesight so do not photograph the eclipse with your cell phone.


Get a Free Insurance Quote Online Now.