Does car insurance cover lightning strikes?

Comprehensive car insurance covers lightning strike damage since it is a non-collision event. Car insurance does not cover lightning damage under a liability-only policy.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 21, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Lightning striking a car would cover damages to the vehicle under a comprehensive coverage plan
  • Under certain scenarios, liability and collision insurance may protect against losses incurred from accidents during storms
  • Keeping the vehicle protected from the weather and buying the best insurance would be the best steps to take

“It was a dark and stormy night” is not a description found solely in the cliched beginning of a potboiler novel. Such a description would fit a number of accidents that occur on the roads throughout the world.

The worse storm conditions are, the greater the chances that a vehicle could get into an accident. Few would venture out into a thunder and lightning storm due to grave and well-founded safety concerns.

Parking a car in front of a house on a driveway outside during a storm does not automatically mean no mishaps can occur.

While the vehicle cannot cause an accident while stationary and parked, the car can still get damaged. The metal used to build a car can attract lightning, and a lightning strike could do severe damage to a vehicle.

Who is going to pay for the damage? Would an auto insurance policy cover the loss or would the owner be forced to pay out of pocket?

The answer depends on the type of policy the driver has chosen to take out.

If you are unsure if you have the right coverage for your car in this situation, compare at least three to four policies today to find the best auto insurance for you! Enter your ZIP code above to find out!

The Comprehensive Solution

When a vehicle is parked somewhere and exposed to lightning strikes, the damage would be covered under a comprehensive insurance delineation.

Comprehensive insurance protects vehicles from virtually anything that causes damage outside of an accident. Accidents would be covered under liability protection or collision insurance.

Comprehensive insurance casts a wide protective net over a vehicle.

If the car was parked in a garage and the garage was engulfed in flames due to being struck by lightning, comprehensive coverage would pay for the replacement of the vehicle up to the current, legitimate resale value.

Comprehensive insurance is extremely beneficial since theft, weather damage, flooding, and numerous other instances of damage are protected.

However, do not assume that comprehensive coverage would address standard wear and tear or negligence. If you do not change your oil and the engine seizes, an insurance company is not going to pick up the repair tab — comprehensive coverage or not.

One point about comprehensive coverage that bears mentioning is it is not mandatory.

Auto liability is mandatory in virtually every state. Certain states, such as New Jersey, mandate personal injury protection coverage.

Comprehensive coverage is self-serving and helps owners avoid financial losses — minus the established deductible — on damage to a car.

Not everyone carries comprehensive coverage. Those currently worried about a vehicle being hit by lightning really should think about acquiring comprehensive coverage.

Worries about the costs associated with comprehensive coverage may lead some to not adding this to a policy. A solution exists, and it comes in the form of comparison shopping. Procuring online quotes could assist with acquiring inexpensive-but-helpful comprehensive insurance.

Comprehensive insurance is a means of protecting one’s investment in case of lightening or another event. Other protections could help protect a car from a lightning scenario as well.

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Collision Insurance Support

Lightning might not only strike a car when it is parked. Sadly, a vehicle can be hit while moving and this could lead to running off the road and striking a pole or a tree.

In this case, collision insurance may be required to cover damage to the vehicle. Like comprehensive insurance, collision insurance is not mandatory. As a result, drivers do not always carry the collision coverage.

As noted with comprehensive coverage, comparison shopping for adding collision coverage might be a wise idea. No one can predict what will happen on the road when the weather is awful.

What should you do if your car is struck by lightning?

If lightning strikes the car or, for that matter, causes a distraction that leads to an accident, the driver may — fairly or not — be held liable for the accident. If bodily injury is inflicted on someone or property damage occurs, a person can sue to recover losses.

This scenario is where personal liability insurance comes into play. Personal liability covers those who are at-fault for an accident.

A question may arise here would be ‘Is a driver who got into an accident due to a lightning event truly negligent?’

The answer is not for the driver to answer. The insurance company takes over and argues the merits of the other party’s claim. If the insurance company agrees negligence played a role in any accident, liability insurance is intended to cover the loss.

In the event of a lawsuit, the insurance company’s lawyers could attempt to prove to the court that negligence was not present or only partial negligence occurred.

Once again, these matters are covered by the insurance company. The insured driver does not deal directly with the party seeking damages once the insurance company takes over.

The driver does need to be sure they have an adequate amount of coverage. Many opt for $100,000/$300,000 in liability insurance. In truth, most people who have never gotten into an accident during their driving history do not worry about being at-fault for one.

Examples associated with lightning should lead some to accept the fact that unexpected events occur. Carrying too little liability insurance when an out of the ordinary situation develops can be bad. The insurance company is only responsible up to the limits of the policy.

What happens when the suit seeks $400,000 in damages and the limit is only $100,000? The driver is responsible for the $300,000 difference.

With insurance, the rule “You get what you paid for” does apply. Maybe it would be best to purchase $500,000 in coverage to substantially boost personal financial security.

A running theme here is not to assume paying extra to maximize coverage automatically comes with excessively high premiums. Comparing and examining several quotes can lead to getting a solid deal on a policy.

Planning for the Unexpected

The chances of a vehicle getting struck by lightning are slim. Decreasing the odds of such an occurrence would still be a wise idea. Moving a car to shelter could significantly reduce the chances of lightning striking the vehicle.

Still, no guarantees exist that the car and driver won’t end up in a bad situation.

Roads become slick even during light rains, which is a scenario far more common than being hit by lightning.

Getting hit by an uninsured motorist is far more likely than experiencing lightning striking a car. Is uninsured motorist protection in place?

Don’t be a victim of the unexpected. Seek out the best possible and most extensive affordable auto insurance.

If you want to increase your chances of finding the best and most affordable auto insurance for you, enter your ZIP code below to start comparison shopping!

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