Which car insurance policies cover storm damage?
When you buy car insurance, you might not think about whether it will cover your car for weather-related damage.
But road traffic accidents aren’t the only thing that can result in having to take your vehicle to the garage.
Most comprehensive car insurance policies will usually cover storm damage - like a dent caused by a falling tree or flying debris.
However, if your car comes off worse in a storm and you only have third party cover, you won’t be able to make a claim or get a payout.
- Comprehensive car insurance usually covers storm damage, but you won’t be covered with a third party policy
- Weather damage is classified as an ‘at-fault’ claim and will impact your no-claims discount
- If debris from a neighbour’s property hits your car, you may be able to claim through their home insurance
Is storm damage to my car classed as accidental damage?
If a storm damages your car, you might see it as accidental. But insurers often classify weather-related incidents as an ‘Act of God’.
In other words, the damage occurred naturally and was unavoidable - which means you should be able to make a claim.
The type of damage and situations insurers will cover can vary though, so always check the policy wording.
Claims due to bad weather will generally fall under the ‘at-fault’ category because the insurer can’t recover their costs from elsewhere.
Unfortunately, this means that claiming for storm damage will usually impact your no-claims discount (NCD). So, you’re likely to see your premiums increase when it comes to renewal time.
What type of storm damage will my car insurance cover?
Bad weather conditions can cause damage to your car in several ways. But typical situations that a comprehensive policy might cover include:
Falling trees or debris
Your car insurance can cover the cost of damage if high winds cause a tree to fall onto your car or flying debris to smash windows and scratch paintwork.
If heavy rainfall and sudden high water levels result in flood damage to your car, perhaps causing electrical faults, you should be able to make a claim.
Most comprehensive policies will cover you if a storm causes unusually large hailstones that dent your car’s bodywork, damaging windows and windscreens.
Snow and ice
You’ll usually be covered if weather causes dangerous driving conditions which result in a car crash, or your parked car being hit.
When won’t my car be covered for storm damage?
There are some situations that your car insurance won’t cover. Typical exclusions for storm damage might include:
- Damage from a neighbour’s property - If a neighbour’s tree or roof tile falls and damages your car, you may be able to claim through their home insurance.
- Driving through a flooded street - You won’t be covered if you drove through high flood water when doing so was avoidable.
- Ignoring warnings - Your claim is likely to be rejected if you ignored warnings about travelling or closed road signs.
- Driving irresponsibly - You won’t be covered if you were found to be driving without due care and attention, or at high speeds.
- Leaving your car unattended - For example, you won’t be covered if you leave the car unattended while you have the engine running to defrost the windscreen.
What should I do if my car has storm damage?
If your car’s been damaged by a storm, you may want to claim for the cost of repairs if you’ve got comprehensive car insurance.
To do this, you’ll need to:
Wait before removing any debris from your car until you’ve spoken to your insurer.
Take photos and videos of the scene and the damage to your car
Contact your insurer as soon as possible and have your policy number ready
Find out the repair process - your insurer may need to come and assess the damage
Keep any receipts as proof - check whether you need to use an approved mechanic
Frequently asked questions
Yes, if you claim for repairs to your car after storm damage, it’ll typically cause your premiums to increase when it comes to renewal.
This is because insurers class storm damage as an ‘at-fault’ claim because they can’t recover any of the costs - unlike when an accident is caused by another driver.
Even if your NCD is protected, you can still find that your premiums increase after a no-fault claim, like storm damage.
Making any type of claim increases the risk for the insurer.
It’s best to avoid driving in bad weather conditions unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Most insurers will state that you need to take reasonable care when driving, so it's important to follow all local advice when weather warnings are in place.
If you need to make a claim for weather-related damage and your insurer finds out that you were being reckless, like driving too fast during stormy conditions, it may reject your claim.
Before you hit the road, check local weather and traffic updates. If a storm is forecast, listen out for news about flooded or blocked roads so you can adjust your route.
Do some basic checks on your car before setting off - like making sure all lights are working, checking the windscreen wipers and tyres are in good condition, and that the oil and antifreeze levels are topped up. Don’t forget to make sure you have enough fuel too.
It’s also a good idea to keep emergency kit in the car. This could include a high-vis vest, warning triangle, torch, a bottle of water and snacks, as well as a blanket and first aid kit.
If you suddenly find yourself driving in stormy conditions, there are steps you can take to help you stay safe:
- Slow down and drive below the speed limit
- Choose main roads which are less likely to be strewn with fallen branches
- Dip your headlights if the weather causes poor visibility
- Keep two hands on the wheel for maximum control
- Put more space between you and the car in front
- Stay alert and anticipate the reactions of other drivers
- Keep an eye out for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists
- Try to pull over in heavy rain or hailstorms and stay in your car until it eases
- If the road is flooded, turn around - don’t be tempted to try and drive through it
When a storm is forecast, there are things you can do to help protect your car. This includes parking in a garage to shield it from high winds, falling debris and hailstones.
If this isn’t possible, try to avoid parking under power lines, or near trees that might lose branches or fall. And if you need to leave your car parked on a road, it can be worth investing in a tight-fitting cover to give it extra protection from flying debris.
It’s also worth checking your home to make sure there aren’t any obvious hazards. Look out for things like loose roof tiles, or a wobbly TV aerial, that could fall and harm people or damage your car in strong winds.