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Sadly, hurricanes are not an odd occurrence in the United States. In fact, they are one of the most common natural disasters in the United States. These violent storms with high winds can affect big areas in a short period of time and can potentially cause significant damage. Yet, hurricane damage is rarely mentioned when it comes to car insurance. So if you are not sure if it’s included in your policy, this article should tell you everything you need to know.
Is My Car Protected Against Hurricanes?
That depends. While “hurricane insurance” is not necessarily a thing, comprehensive insurance is. Let us explain:
Most people have the car insurance that is required by law; this coverage usually includes costs for bodily injuries and property damage that is directly linked to a car accident. As you might have guessed, this would not cover damages related to a hurricane.
However, if your vehicle is covered under a comprehensive insurance policy, you’d be covered against the following things:
And, great news — the last one would encompass hurricane damage.
Can I Upgrade to a Comprehensive Insurance Policy?
Usually, yes, you should have no problem contacting your insurance company and signing up for an upgrade. However, there is one instance in which your insurer will deny you this request.
Insurance companies are smart. They know that once a hurricane is announced, thousands of people will suddenly want the comprehensive coverage and might sign up for it at the last minute. This could potentially cause the company a lot of costs. Think about it this way: a bunch of people sign up for the coverage, they pay a month of the policy, and the next thing they know is they’re all filling claims for thousands of dollars. It’s not great business for the insurance company, which is precisely why most of them limit or completely prohibit new enrollments or upgrades once a hurricane has been announced.
So, if you’re thinking about getting comprehensive coverage for your car, make sure to do it with time, certainly before the next hurricane season arrives.
Will It Make My Premium Increase?
You might have seen this coming, but — yes! A comprehensive insurance policy covers many more things than a basic insurance policy; this broader coverage will be reflected in an average increase of $600 per year in your premiums. However, the increase will be small compared to the potential costs you may be liable to if a hurricane causes you to lose your car.
Remember that a hurricane can affect your car in many ways: The wind could flip it, a tree could fall on top of it, flood damage might damage electrical or mechanical systems, or a flying object might break your windows. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, comprehensive car coverage might be a saving grace.
Will My Premium Increase After Filing a Claim?
Usually, when people file a claim, their insurance premium goes up, and hurricane claims are no exception. While you might be thinking, “well, what’s the point of having insurance if I’ll have to pay more every time I use it?” We get it; it can be frustrating, but keep two things in mind:
- Hurricanes don’t just happen to you; they happen to many people at the same time. Insurance companies have to pay out multiple claims at once; this amounts to millions of dollars flowing out of the company, so they need a way to bring some money back.
- The premium increase you’d be paying would amount to nothing next to the costs you’d have to cover if you had to pay for 100% of the damages your car might’ve suffered.