Does my car insurance cover accidental damage?

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Things to remember...
  • Damage that has occurred to your car without intent is often classified as accidental damage
  • When these losses occur, you may need to file an insurance claim to get your damages repaired or your vehicle replaced, depending on the extent of the damage
  • Filing a claim through your insurance provider can cause increases in your premium costs, so make sure to consider your options first
  • Assessing your damage before filing a claim can help you determine if you should file a claim or handle the repairs on your own

An unexpected occurrence in anyone’s day is finding accidental damage on your car. This damage can happen from any of the following:

  • shopping carts
  • other parked cars
  • careless pedestrians
  • road debris

When your car is damaged through accidental events, you may need to get your car repaired or replaced. Your car insurance may cover accidental damage, though the amount of damage can determine what course of action to take.

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Accidental Damage and Your Car Insurance

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Accidental damage can take different forms and have different parties responsible; though it may be difficult to determine where the fault lies. Some of the forms it can take include:

  • Shopping carts denting your car
  • Side mirrors being ripped off by a passing car
  • Road debris being kicked up by another car
  • Distracted drivers in a parking lot

There are just some examples of accidental damage, and they can be caused by factors like distracted driving.

Some drivers are inexperienced or reckless behind the wheel, which can also cause accidental damage without the driver realizing they’ve caused a loss or stopping to ascertain the damage.

While accidental damage may occur when your car is parked and unoccupied, it can be difficult to assign fault to another party. You may have to pay for the loss.

Your insurance coverage may help you recover from these accidental losses if you carry the proper coverage; many accidental damage claims fall under comprehensive coverage.

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Accidental Damage Coverage on Your Insurance

Your car insurance policy can cover accidental damage if you’ve chosen the proper coverage.

If you carry the correct coverage, then you can file an insurance claim through your insurance provider, providing accurate details of your loss, which will allow them to investigate and resolve your loss.

Accidental damage can take the form of a hit-and-run incident, in which a driver hits your vehicle and flees the scene.

When these losses occur, uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage can help you recover from this event, even though the responsible party may not be identified.

Comprehensive coverage is the coverage option that applies to many accidental damage losses since this policy protects from accidents not caused by a collision.

This coverage is sometimes called “other-than-collision” coverage by insurance providers.

Collision coverage often does not apply to accidental losses, but road debris incidents may fall under this coverage, depending on the circumstances of the damage and the cause of the debris.

Your insurance provider will often need to investigate the loss and determine if coverage applies.

Make sure to assess your coverage needs and risk exposure when getting coverage quotes, since you may want to purchase this coverage when buying car insurance.

Additionally, you may add this coverage at a later time by speaking to your insurance provider.

Things to Remember about Accidental Damage

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There are several things to remember about accidental damage and accidental damage claims, including:

  • Filing a claim can lead to premium increases
  • You may have a deductible to cover for your loss
  • Your provider may decide to cancel or not renew your policy

Filing a claim for accidental damage can help you recover from these losses with ease, but there are a few things to consider.

Any time you file a claim, you are adding to your claim history; this is a record of your insurance claims that your current or future providers consider when writing your coverage.

The more claims you have, the more difficult obtaining coverage may be, since you may be labeled as a high-risk driver.

When you have a history of multiple claims, you may experience higher premium costs to offset the potential claims you may file.

Insurance providers charge these premiums to plan for losses you may introduce proactively; if your premiums are too high through one provider, you may want to get quotes from other providers to compare coverage and pricing.

Additionally, your insurance claim may require a deductible, which is a portion of your covered claim that you are responsible for financially. The deductible normally applies to physical damage losses, such as the following:

  • collision claims
  • comprehensive claims
  • glass damage claims.

Finally, there’s the potential that your claim history can lead to difficulty retaining your coverage. Insurance providers reassess policies they’ve written at least annually, and they may decide to non-renew your coverage if you are high-risk or have a high number of claims.

If this situation occurs, you’ll need to pursue purchasing coverage through another insurance provider, normally by getting multiple insurance quotes and then deciding on the best option for your needs.

If your policy is non-renewed or canceled, you may find it more difficult to obtain coverage through traditional providers.

Assessing the Damage before Filing a Claim

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Accidental damages can vary in the monetary value and amount of damage caused, but it’s always an unexpected and unpleasant loss.

However, your car insurance can help you recover from these losses quickly and easily, as long as you’ve purchased coverage for these losses.

Since accidental damage can occur in many different ways and many different means, it can be difficult to determine the responsible party. Even so, your insurance provider can help you recover, though you may be responsible for your insurance deductible.

Remember to assess the value and extent of your car’s damages before filing a claim, since claims below your deductible are not be covered by your provider.

Additionally, filing claims can lead to premium increases, so consider the short-term and long-term consequences of filing a claim before making your decision.

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