Does auto insurance cover accidental interior damage? [Expert Advice]

Car insurance does cover accidental interior damage in certain situations if you have the right coverage. Find out how to get coverage and properly avoid costly repairs to your vehicle.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 25, 2022

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Things to remember...

  • The interior of your car can sustain damage in many ways
  • Some types of insurance coverage, such as comprehensive, may pay claims for damages caused by intentional acts of others
  • Damage that occurs from regular use of your vehicle will not be covered

If you own a car, you know that your vehicle’s interior may get damaged throughout its use. Does car insurance cover accidental interior damage?

Interior damage to your vehicle may be covered by a comprehensive policy, depending on how the damage occurred. Wear from regular use of your car will likely not be covered.

This guide provides information on when you could expect to recover compensation for interior vehicle damage from your insurance company.

Does car insurance cover accidental interior damage?

Whether your car insurance covers interior damage depends in part on how the damage occurred. Your insurance policy dictates the specific occurrences covered if your vehicle’s interior is affected.

If a third party intentionally destroys your vehicle’s interior, your policy should cover the cost of repairing it if you have the right level of coverage. Intentional destruction of your property is known as vandalism and is a criminal act.

If your car’s interior is damaged by some animal, such as a squirrel, your comprehensive coverage may pay your claim to repair the damage. You can review the coverage options to make sure damages from wildlife are included.

If you have passengers spill things in your car or accidentally tear the upholstery, your insurance company will not pay for the repair. This type of damage is considered normal wear and tear from the use of the vehicle.

If you have a liability-only policy, you will not have coverage for any interior damage regardless of what led to the destruction. You would need to upgrade your policy to include comprehensive coverage to get compensation for interior repairs. You can learn more about the types of auto insurance coverage available to drivers.

Additionally, here is a quick look at the average cost of auto insurance based on coverage type.

CompaniesAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates for High CoverageAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates for Low CoverageAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates for Medium Coverage
Allstate$5,139.02$4,628.03$4,896.81
American Family$3,416.40$3,368.49$3,544.37
Farmers$4,494.13$3,922.47$4,166.22
GEICO$3,429.14$3,001.91$3,213.97
Liberty Mutual$6,356.04$5,805.75$6,058.57
Nationwide$3,505.37$3,394.83$3,449.80
Progressive$4,350.96$3,737.13$4,018.46
State Farm$3,454.80$3,055.40$3,269.80
Travelers$4,619.07$4,223.63$4,462.02
USAA$2,667.92$2,404.11$2,539.87
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In many cases, the rates for a basic liability policy are not significantly lower than those for a comprehensive policy. Here is a list of the companies with the five lowest average rates for basic coverage and the difference in adding the highest level of coverage on an annual policy:

  • USAA – $263.81
  • Geico – $427.23
  • State Farm – $399.40
  • American Family – $47.91
  • Nationwide – $110.54

Adding additional coverage can help you make necessary repairs if your vehicle is damaged. Be sure to review any policy documents to know what claims the added insurance will pay for. Learn more about what an auto insurance policy looks like.

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What if the car’s interior is damaged in an accident?

Damages from an accident usually affect the outside of your car. However, if you are in a crash involving fire, water, or glass breaking, the interior may be damaged. If you have collision coverage, your insurance company should pay to have the interior repaired if the impairment results from a crash. Claims may include destruction done to your car’s electrical system.

The rate you pay for collision insurance may depend on the type of interior you have. Insurance companies consider replacement costs of materials when setting rates.

For example, if you have a leather interior, this is likely to be more costly to replace than fabric upholstery. This may result in higher rates for your collision policy.

Collision coverage usually does not cost much more on an annual basis to add to a policy. Interior repairs can be expensive if your upholstery is burned, water damaged, or torn. Having a collision policy can give you peace of mind that you will be able to return your vehicle to its original condition after an accident. Now, if another driver is found to be at fault, you could file a claim with their insurance company so their liability insurance would cover the costs of repairing your vehicle.

What if vandals damage your interior?

If a person or group of persons breaks into your car and destroys parts of the interior, your insurance may cover the damage if you have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive insurance will pay for impairments to the interior car items and replace any broken windows, slashed tires, or scratched paint.

Vandalism is a crime, and if vandals have damaged your car, you should file a police report. You will need to submit a copy of the police report with the claim you file with your insurance company.

You can expect the insurance company to investigate any claim related to vandalism. They will want to verify that the damage occurred as reported.

What if your interior is damaged from regular use of your car?

Even a comprehensive coverage policy will not reimburse you for damages to your interior from regular car use. This includes incidents like stains from spilled food or drink, burns from cigarettes or lighters, or unexpected tears from something getting caught on the upholstery. Damage from the sun or other elements is also considered part of a car’s everyday wear and tear.

You should try to protect the inside of your vehicle the best you can. Let passengers know that they cannot eat, drink, or smoke inside your car.

Also, avoid carrying any items that might spill over or have sharp edges that can tear the fabric. Any items you place in your vehicle should be secured appropriately.

You can take further steps on your own to minimize damage, such as regular vacuuming and cleaning. Keep a spot cleaner handy to clean up any spills as fast as possible.

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Final Thoughts on Interior Car Damage

Damages to your car’s interior may be covered through your insurance if you have a comprehensive or collision policy. Not all types of damage are covered.

Repairs to your interior from impairment caused by vandalism or a collision should be covered with the right type of insurance. Your insurance company will investigate any claims to ensure the damage was caused as reported by the claimant.

Incidental damage from regular use of your car will not be eligible for insurance reimbursement. You want to take care of your car’s interior when using it to avoid any costly repairs from regular wear and tear.

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