How Insurance Can Protect Your Car in the Event of a Lightning Strike

In most cases, comprehensive insurance will cover damage to your car in the event that it's struck by lightning.
Written by Jason Tushinski
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
The odds of your car being struck by lightning are unlikely; however, if this does happen, your comprehensive insurance will most likely cover any damage to your vehicle that was caused by the lightning strike. In some instances, your collision or liability insurance may apply to lightning damage.
Car insurance
cannot create a force field around your vehicle to protect from lightning bolts. Don’t get us wrong—the folks in Jerry’s R & D Department are very good...but not that good.
Still, car insurance is a great way to protect your investment and your finances in the unlikely event that your car is struck by lightning.
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So, keep reading to find out how your car insurance may help you in the case of a lightning strike.
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What insurance covers a lightning strike on your car?

If your car is struck by lightning, the type of car insurance you carry will determine what insurance will cover your car’s damage—if you’ve got full coverage, comprehensive insurance will cover lightning damage in most scenarios, but collision and liability coverage may apply in some cases.

Comprehensive insurance

Comprehensive insurance
, which covers damage to your car from accidents not involving other vehicles, such as animal collisions or damage from extreme weather, will likely cover your vehicle’s damage if struck by lightning.
For example, let’s say you’re driving and a bolt of lightning sends a heavy tree branch plummeting onto your car, destroying your windshield. In such a rare case, your comprehensive insurance would most likely cover the damage, due to lightning’s unpredictable nature and the fact that this weather-related event directly contributed to your car’s damage.
In another example, lightning may strike your car and leave it physically unscathed—but it might have hampered your vehicle’s electrical system, or maybe your car won’t start after being struck. Comprehensive insurance would theoretically cover this kind of damage, but an insurer may push back, arguing such internal damage is the result of another issue.
MORE: Does insurance cover cracked windshields?

Collision insurance

Collision insurance
, which covers damage to your vehicle in the event of a collision with another car or a fixed object, is unlikely to cover your car’s damage in a lightning strike.
Still, a scenario may arise where your collision insurance does cover lightning-related damage to your car. If, for example, a bolt of lightning hits your car, causing you to lose control of the vehicle as it barrels into a telephone pole—your collision coverage would likely cover your car if it's damaged or totaled.

Liability insurance

Liability car insurance
covers damage to another driver’s car and any potential medical bills stemming from a collision where you are at fault. It is highly unlikely that liability insurance would cover anyone’s car damage in the event of a lightning strike, but nothing is impossible.
If, for example, a lightning bolt strikes your car, causing you to lose control and hit another vehicle, resulting in severe damage or injury to the other driver, it is plausible you could be held responsible. In such a scenario, your liability insurance would cover the damage to the other driver’s car—not your own—and the injured driver’s medical bills.
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A common myth about lightning and cars

Contrary to what many people believe, if your car is struck by lightning, it's your vehicle’s metal roof—not its rubber tires—that acts as a conductor through which the lightning is routed into the pavement.
In reality, most rubber tires would be torn up by a bolt of lightning that’s been traveling through the air for miles before making contact. It’s highly unlikely your all-season tires would absorb a lightning bolt’s force and emerge unscathed.
Key Takeaway A car’s metal roof, not its rubber tires, is what acts as a conductor and routes a lightning bolt to the roadway.

You’re driving and lighting strikes—what do you do?

In the unusual scenario that you fear your car will get hit by lighting, or if your car is struck by lightning with you in it, there are a few things you can do to stay safe—pull over, turn your hazard lights on, turn the engine off, and don’t touch anything made of metal.
Pull over: If sheets of rain are pelting your windshield, thunder is rolling in the distance, and cracks of lightning are getting ever closer, pull your car over to a safe place, kill the engine, and wait out the storm. Don’t touch the steering wheel or any part of the car connected to the outside.
Turn your hazard lights on: In heavy rainstorms, it gets dark quickly—if you pull over, turn the car off, but leave your hazard lights on so other drivers can see your vehicle. To be safe, remain in your vehicle.
Turn your car off: Wait out any heavy storm with your engine off and hazard lights on.
Don’t touch anything made of metal: When waiting out a lightning storm in your car, heed that lesson you learned in the first grade—keep your hands to yourself.
If lightning starts raining down, don’t touch anything metal, any part of the vehicle connected to the outside of the car, or any components containing metal, such as the dashboard, steering wheel, or gear shift. Lightning looks to find a way to get to the ground, so if you are touching a metal component, that component—and by extension, you—can become a conductor through which the lightning makes its way to the pavement.
You do not want to become a conductor, so keep those hands where you can see them—in your lap—and don’t touch anything until the storm has passed.

Damage from lightning hitting your car

Lightning can damage your car’s structural integrity, leave burn marks, blow out your tires, and short-circuit a car’s wiring.
Burn marks, body damage, and tire blowouts: When cars are struck by lightning, cars are often left with burn marks, ranging from minor to severe. Not only can a strike burn the outside of your car, but the vehicle’s structural integrity can also be compromised.
As well, the force of a lightning bolt can blow right through tires, leaving your vehicle with metal wheels and shredded rubber.
Electrical damage: Sometimes instead of damaging a car’s structure, a lightning strike on a car can leave its electrical components and wiring severely damaged, leaving the car unable to start. Occasionally, a lightning strike on a vehicle can even cause a fire.
Key Takeaway Your tires won’t absorb a lightning bolt’s direct hit on your car—they’ll likely be shredded.

Protect your car and yourself with Jerry

Protecting your car from lightning is actually easier than it sounds—your
car insurance
affords excellent protection to both your vehicle and yourself in the very unlikely event that your car is struck by lightning.
, finding a robust car insurance policy at an affordable price has never been easier. Sign-up takes 45 seconds, and then your smartphone screen will fill up with competitive quotes from the country’s top insurers. Jerry will sign you up for your new policy and cancel your old one for you.
Best of all, Jerry is 100% free to use!
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What happens if your car gets struck by lightning?

The answer to this question depends. Your car might emerge from a lightning strike unscathed. But it might also suffer some minor burns or severe burns that damage your car’s structural integrity. Electrical issues, wiring problems, and even fires have been caused by lightning strikes.

Can you get struck by lightning in a car?

Indirectly, it is possible, though the possibility is very unlikely. If you're touching a metal component in your vehicle, it is possible to be injured if lightning strikes the car.
To be safe, it is always a good idea to wait out a lightning storm—pull over safely, turn the car off, keep your hazard lights on, and do not touch anything in the vehicle until the storm passes.
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