Does my car insurance cover shopping cart damage?

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Things to remember...
  • If your car is parked in a lot and a shopping cart hits it, the property can’t be held liable for the damage
  • It’s in your interest to attempt to file a report after you notice the damage to help you with filing a claim
  • Your auto insurance won’t pay for shopping cart damage to your vehicle if you don’t have physical damage coverage
  • Since cars that are damaged by shopping carts are parked, you’ll have to file a comprehensive claim for coverage
  • Filing a comprehensive claim won’t affect your future premiums unless you’ve filed multiple claims in three years

Parking lots can be considered dangerous grounds for both pedestrians and cars. While most people don’t travel at high speeds while driving in a parking lot, there’s so much foot traffic and so many distractions that accidents can easily happen.

Children who are left unattended, drivers who aren’t looking both ways, and adults who cross without looking all contribute to the problem.

Another hazard that’s in almost all parking lots is the shopping cart.

Shopping carts are essential when you’re shopping for groceries and other consumer goods but they can pose a problem when they are being controlled by reckless individuals.

It’s not hard for a runaway cart to do damage to the body of a vehicle, even older vehicles that are made fully of metal.

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How much damage can a shopping cart really do?

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It’s not likely that your car is going to be totaled if a runaway shopping cart runs into it but that small metal apparatus can definitely do some damage.

Depending on the type of vehicle and where the carts collided with the car, you could wind up receiving an invoice priced at $1000 for bumper or side door repair.

Is the store liable to pay for the damage to your car?

If you drive into any store parking lot, you’ll probably see some signs posted that state that you’re parking on private property. Whether or not the store would be liable for damage if their shopping cart damaged your car depends on who owns and controls it.

Some stores don’t own the land that they are doing business on. Instead, they lease the commercial building and also the lot where their customers park.

Other stores find that it makes more sense to buy land and develop their own properties. In either case, it’s the store’s legal duty to protect people who are visiting their stores and their property.

Since there’s a duty to protect, stores can be held liable for damage to your property if reasonable safety measures aren’t taken.

In a parking lot, it’s fair to say that a store has taken reasonable measures when they have posted warning signs and installed cart corrals all throughout the lot.

As long as the carts are cleared from the corrals on a regular basis, the store could argue that it’s fulfilled its duty to protect their customers from foreseeable events like shopping cart damage.

When the duty is fulfilled and there is no negligence involved, the store won’t be held liable.

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When can the store be held liable for shopping cart damage to your car?

Obviously, if there are no attendants who service the parking lot or corrals for storing carts, you might have a legitimate claim to file against the store.

It’s more common for vehicle owners to file claims against stores when their employees were obviously negligent and the owner can show evidence that their actions caused damage to your vehicle.

One example of a case where the store could be held liable for negligence is when the attendant is pushing stacked carts and loses control.

These runaway carts lost control and hit the car because the employee was pushing them. If it had been another shopper or even the wind that propelled the cart, there would have been a different outcome.

Can you file a claim against your insurance?

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If you’ve already discussed your options with the store manager and they will not take liability for the damage to your car, your next option is to contact your insurance carrier.

The only problem with filing a claim against your own policy is that you must have the right coverage for the claim to be accepted.

You can’t file a claim and expect damage to your vehicle to be covered if you only have liability coverage under your auto insurance policy. Liability insurance does have a portion that pays for property damage but the property that it’s paying for must be owned by others.

You must add additional first-party coverage on your policy.

Physical damage coverage consists of comprehensive and collision coverage. Each of these pays for damage to your own automobile when it’s damaged. The coverage will pay up to the car’s market value if the car is totaled.

You can purchase both of these coverage options or you can purchase only comprehensive coverage if you would like to keep your premiums as low as possible.

What does comprehensive coverage pay for?

You must have comprehensive coverage if you want to file a claim for damage done by a shopping cart. Comprehensive is a form of coverage that pays for most perils that happen while a car is parked.

Some of the different dangers the comprehensive will protect you against include:

  • Falling objects
  • Missiles
  • Explosion
  • Flood
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Glass breakage
  • Live animals that cause damage

Will your rates go up when you file a claim?

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Your insurer might ask for important information when you’re filing your claim. If you don’t have the right coverage but you’ve identified the person who was negligent with their cart, your insurer may attempt to collect from that party’s insurance.

When you do file a claim against your own policy, you always must worry about rate increases. Luckily, rates don’t go up after filing one comprehensive claim.

If you’re looking to do business with an insurer that will help you after a scenario like this happens to you, shop around. Find out which companies have the best reputations in the market first.

Once you do that, you can start to compare rates online and then make a quick decision. Enter your zip code into our free rate tool below to get started.

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