Imagine this: you are driving on a stormy day and suddenly a bolt of lightning strikes your car. You are shaken but unhurt, but your car is not so lucky. The electrical surge fries your battery, your engine, and your electronics. Or worse, the lightning sets your car on fire or causes it to explode. What do you do? Who will pay for the damage?
The answer depends on what type of car insurance you have and how the lightning affected your car. In this article, we will explain whether car insurance covers lightning strikes and under what conditions. We will also provide some tips on how to file a claim for lightning damage and how to protect your car from lightning strikes.
Comprehensive Coverage and Lightning Damage
The only type of car insurance that covers lightning damage is comprehensive coverage. This is an optional coverage that you can add to your policy for an extra cost. Comprehensive coverage pays for the repair or replacement of your car if it is damaged by something other than a collision, such as fire, theft, vandalism, hail, flood, or animal impact.
Comprehensive coverage can help you pay for the damage caused by lightning, minus the deductible. The deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of your own pocket before the insurance company pays the rest. For example, if your car has $5,000 worth of damage and your deductible is $500, you will pay $500 and the insurance company will pay $4,500.
However, comprehensive coverage does not cover everything. There are some scenarios where comprehensive coverage may not apply or may not be enough to cover the full cost of the damage. For example:
- If your car was driving when it was struck by lightning, comprehensive coverage may not cover the damage to your tires, brakes, or suspension. These parts are considered wear and tear items and are usually excluded from comprehensive coverage.
- If the damage caused by lightning is invisible, such as a fried computer chip or a melted wire, comprehensive coverage may not cover it unless you can prove that it was caused by lightning. You may need to get a diagnostic test from a mechanic or an electrical engineer to verify the cause of the damage.
- If your car is totaled by lightning, meaning that the cost of repairing it exceeds its actual cash value, comprehensive coverage will only pay you the actual cash value of your car. This is the amount of money your car was worth before it was damaged, minus depreciation. If you owe more money on your car loan than the actual cash value of your car, you will have to pay the difference out of your own pocket.
Other Types of Coverage and Lightning Damage
If you do not have comprehensive coverage, you may be wondering if any other type of car insurance covers lightning damage. The answer is no. Other types of coverage, such as collision, liability, and personal injury protection, do not cover lightning damage at all. These types of coverage only cover damage or injury caused by a collision with another vehicle or a person.
However, there are some situations where other types of coverage may be useful if your car is involved in an accident due to a lightning strike. For example:
- If your car is struck by lightning and collides with another vehicle or a person, collision coverage will pay for the damage to your car and liability coverage will pay for the damage or injury you cause to others. Collision and liability coverage are mandatory in most states.
- If you or your passengers are injured by a lightning strike or an accident caused by a lightning strike, personal injury protection (PIP) will pay for your medical expenses and lost wages. PIP is mandatory in some states and optional in others.
How to File a Claim for Lightning Damage
If your car is damaged by lightning and you have comprehensive coverage, you should file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. Here are some tips on how to file a claim for lightning damage:
- Document the incident: Take pictures and videos of the damage to your car and the surrounding area. Write down the date, time, and location of the incident. Get a copy of the weather report that shows the occurrence of lightning in your area.
- Contact your insurer: Call your insurance company or use their online portal or app to report the claim. Provide them with the details of the incident and the documentation you have gathered.
- Get an estimate from a mechanic: Take your car to a reputable mechanic or an authorized dealer to get an estimate of the cost of repairing or replacing your car. The mechanic may need to perform a diagnostic test to determine the extent of the damage caused by lightning.
- Cooperate with the adjuster: The insurance company will assign an adjuster to investigate your claim and determine how much they will pay you. The adjuster may inspect your car, review the estimate from the mechanic, and ask you questions about the incident. Be honest and cooperative with the adjuster and provide them with any additional information or documentation they may request.
To sum up, car insurance covers lightning strikes only if you have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage can help you pay for the repair or replacement of your car if it is damaged by lightning, minus the deductible. However, comprehensive coverage does not cover everything and there are some scenarios where it may not apply or may not be enough to cover the full cost of the damage.
If you do not have comprehensive coverage, you will have to pay for the damage caused by lightning out of your own pocket. Other types of coverage, such as collision, liability, and personal injury protection, do not cover lightning damage at all, unless your car is involved in an accident with another vehicle or a person due to a lightning strike.
If you want to protect your car from lightning damage, you should consider adding comprehensive coverage to your policy. You should also take some precautions to prevent or minimize the damage caused by lightning, such as:
- Park your car in a garage or a covered area, away from trees and power lines.
- Avoid driving in stormy weather or on open roads where lightning is more likely to strike.
- Install a surge protector or a grounding device on your car to divert the electrical current away from your car’s components.
If you have any questions about car insurance for lightning strikes or want to compare quotes from different insurers, feel free to contact us today. We are here to help you find the best car insurance for your needs and budget.