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Things to remember...
  • Sinkholes can happen at any time
  • Basic car insurance will not cover sinkholes
  • It’s important to have comprehensive coverage in place to protect against the unexpected

Sinkholes are scary when they happen. They involve erosion of the earth that create holes of varying sizes. They have been known to swallow up cars, homes, and much more.

If your car falls victim to a sinkhole, you need to know if you have sufficient car insurance coverage in place.

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The Type of Insurance Required to Cover Sinkholes


It’s important to have the right type of insurance in place when you file a claim for sinkhole damage. A basic auto insurance policy is only going to protect against auto crashes.

Since a sinkhole does not qualify, you need to explore the “optional” coverage that is available to you.

The state is going to require you to have liability insurance for property damage and bodily injury. Then, it’s up to you to add on comprehensive coverage. This type of coverage protects you against non-driving related incidents, including:

Comprehensive coverage should always be added to a policy if your vehicle is worth enough money to warrant it.

A sinkhole has the possibility to open up at anytime, anywhere. To avoid having to repair or replace your vehicle out of your own pocket, the best option is to have the financial protection in place with comprehensive coverage.

Adding this coverage is often only a small portion of your premiums. Getting quotes from multiple companies will show you just what it will cost.

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Filing a Claim with the Insurance Company

The moment you experience the damage with a sinkhole, you need to notify your insurance company.

Depending on the size of the sinkhole and the other damage it has caused, you might be focused on various other things. However, insurance companies have a specific window where claims need to be filed.

If your car is actually lost inside of the sinkhole, it might be necessary for an insurance claims officer to come down to the site in order to carry out some of the investigation.

You will also need to provide an official statement to attach to the claim records as to what happened.

Once the investigation is complete, the insurance company will pay to repair or replace the vehicle if it is approved. This might require visiting a specific body shop.

You will also need to pay the deductible that’s identified on your policy before the insurance company will pay their part.

Other Types of Insurance to Explore


When it comes to car-related incidents, it’s best to have the protection in place on your car insurance policy. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t other types of insurance available to you, however.

In the event of a sinkhole, there may be other forms of coverage that could potentially protect you as well. It will all depend upon what you have and any riders that may have been added to a policy

Gap insurance is often provided by dealerships or the manufacturer. This is a benefit as it would provide a full replacement of your vehicle in the event of it being totaled. If your car disappears into a sinkhole, this would qualify you for gap replacement.

If your car is parked on your personal property, your home insurance might take care of the car repairs or replacement as well.

In many instances, this will require a rider known as earth movement, which is what a sinkhole is classified as. Otherwise, if you don’t have this particular coverage, a claim will often be denied.

Being a safe driver has nothing to do with your car being damaged by a sinkhole.

It’s important to have comprehensive coverage in place on your car insurance policy.

Since you never know when such a thing could happen, you need to have the financial protection in place with a quality policy. Otherwise, the cost of repairs could be substantial, making it difficult for you to afford to get your car back into a drivable state.

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Things to remember...
  • There are different ways a broken side mirror can be broken
  • Various types of coverage should be in place on a policy
  • A broken side mirror requires filing a claim with the car insurance company

If you break your side mirror (or it breaks in an accident), you want to get it fixed immediately. Not having a side mirror can affect your visibility on the roads. You need the mirror for safety and for aesthetics.

Rather than paying out-of-pocket for the repair, it’s best to file a claim with the car insurance company so they take care of the costs.

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A Broken Side Mirror


Side mirrors are commonly broken. Depending on the make and model of your car, they snap off relatively easily. You want to get the repair as quickly as possible, but you have to first identify how the side mirror was broken.

Some of the most common ways the mirrors are broken include:

You will likely know how the mirror broke and you will need to explain it to the insurance company when you call to file a claim. The coverage you have on your policy will then determine if the broken side mirror will be covered.

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How Various Forms of Insurance will Provide Coverage

There are all sorts of different types of insurance you can add to a basic policy. Once you go above and beyond the state minimums, you are covered against more scenarios.

Depending on your state and fault, it would be your insurance or the other party’s insurance taking care of the repairs.

If it wasn’t your fault, you might be able to get it fixed without paying the deductible.

With collision insurance, you would be covered if your mirror was broken because of an accident. Collision coverage takes care of issues that involve collisions.

With comprehensive insurance, you would be covered if your side mirror broke when you weren’t in the vehicle. These events would include vandalism, where someone decided to break your mirror off just because they felt like it.

It would also include a hit and run, such as if someone hit your car in a parking lot, knocked off the side mirror, and then fled the scene without leaving any information behind.

You never know what’s going to happen. Car insurance allows you to have coverage against what could happen. It’s a good idea to have as much coverage as possible if you can afford it.

Particularly with teen driving, it’s a good idea to have more coverage because teens are less experienced on the roads.

Filing a Claim with the Insurance Company


When you have a broken side mirror, you should file a claim with the insurance company. This claim tells them that there has been a problem. It also allows them to open up an investigation to determine if you have the coverage so they can take care of the costs.

There is the cost of the deductible, which you will need to pay first. A deductible is often either $500 or $1,000 depending on what you have chosen within your policy.

Before you automatically pay the deductible for repairing the broken side mirror, you should take the time to look at the cost of the repair.

Depending on the make and model of your car, the mirror might only cost about $300 for parts and labor. In this case, it would be best for you to pay for the repair rather than having it go through insurance.

Car insurance will often cover a broken side mirror. However, you have to have sufficient coverage on your policy. Further, you have to determine if it’s cost-effective to pay the deductible based on the actual repair costs.

If there is more damage beyond the broken side mirror, it’s probably best to pay the deductible.

You never know when an accident is going to occur or how much the damages will be. So make sure you have the right insurance coverage in place. Enter your zip code below and compare car insurance quotes today.

Here's what you need to know...
  • Your car insurance policy may protect you in the event of a natural disaster
  • Normally, to have coverage in these situations, you need to have your policy in place before the disaster occurs
  • There are different coverage options that may provide coverage, usually comprehensive and collision coverage
  • Collision coverage provides protection from damages that may occur while driving your car, such as hydroplaning due to heavy rains
  • Comprehensive coverage normally provides coverage for damages that are not related to a collision with your vehicle, such as fire, hail, or flooding

Natural disasters can occur at any given time, causing damage your vehicle when you least expect it. In addition to the dangerous driving conditions that natural disasters may create, these disasters can damage your car even when it’s not on the road. It’s important to learn what your policy provides coverage for in the event of a natural disaster.

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Natural Disasters Come In Many Forms


Natural disasters are often hard to define because they can vary based on the area affected and the number of people affected.

However, there are some traditionally accepted events that are defined as a natural disaster. For example, a hurricane or tropical storm is normally considered a natural disaster due to the amount of damage that can occur, the number of people that can be affected.

Natural disasters are sometimes referred to as catastrophes within the insurance world, meaning it’s a severe disaster; either natural or man-made.

Each insurance provider may have a different definition of what they consider a natural disaster or a catastrophe, just as the insurance industry as a whole has different criteria for what is a true catastrophe.

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Your Collision Coverage Protects You From Disaster-Related Accidents

Depending on the natural disaster that’s affecting your area, there could be some conditions that may cause a collision.

For example, during a hurricane, heavy rains or excessive winds could create hazardous driving conditions. During a natural disaster, any collision related damages would still fall under your collision coverage.

Similar to a common two-car accident, your collision coverage may require that you pay a deductible. The deductible on your policy is the amount you are responsible for before your policy limits come into effect.

This amount is normally selected when you first purchase your policy or when you renew your policy with your provider. Your insurance provider can discuss your coverage options and your deductible in further detail.

Your Comprehensive Coverage Protects Against Damages Caused By a Disaster

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Although natural disasters may be responsible for some collision related accidents, there are often more damages caused by your car being parked in an affected area.

These types of damages are often referred to as “other-than-collision” damages and are typically covered under your comprehensive coverage. This coverage usually protects your vehicle in situations where you are not involved in a collision.

Using your comprehensive coverage, your car may be protected from a variety of different natural disasters, such as a tornado, flooding, hurricanes, or fires.

In the example of a hurricane, for instance, this could mean that your insurance policy would cover your car if the winds, rain, or even hail from the hurricane damaged your vehicle.

Just like your collision coverage, your comprehensive coverage usually has a deductible amount that you will be responsible for before your policy limits take effect.

Your insurance provider may be unwilling to provide any coverage before you pay this amount, or they may reduce any settlement by the amount of your deductible if you cannot pay.

If you are looking for insurance coverage, or already have an active policy, it’s important to speak with your provider. They can discuss what comprehensive coverage covers under their policy terms, allowing you to decide if the coverage limits work for what you need.

Each provider may offer slightly different terms in his or her policy, so it’s important to get multiple quotes to compare offerings.

Natural Disaster Claims May Come With Unique Terms Or Conditions

Many natural disasters can damage a large number of people’s property all at once, meaning that your insurance provider may receive hundreds of claims all at the same time.

To process these claims effectively, as well as reduce any fraud attempts, your provider may require you to follow specific guidelines or meet specific conditions before you can file a claim for natural disaster damages.

One of the conditions that may be in effect is your policy’s age. When natural disasters are predicted or imminent, your insurance provider may place a temporary hold on writing new policies or adjusting current policies.

This may mean that any coverage you do not carry before the disaster, such as comprehensive coverage, could not be added until the disaster has passed.

It’s important that you consider purchasing or renewing your insurance coverage before a natural disaster restriction takes effect. Once your potential or current provider has a restriction in place, you may not be able to acquire coverage or alter your existing coverage to protect your vehicle.

Your insurance provider may also require you to file your claim within a certain time window, or they may require that your vehicle was damaged within a specified date range to qualify for the natural disaster coverage.

If this is the case, there may also be unique claim handling procedures that your provider has set up. If you are filing a claim for damages from a natural disaster, be sure to ask about any unique conditions you need to abide by.

Finding the Right Protection


Natural disasters can occur in any area at any time, and it’s not always possible to plan accordingly. Before damages caused by a disaster occur, it’s critical that you understand what your policy covers.

The different conditions that natural disasters create could fall under collision or comprehensive coverage, and some providers may require that you have active coverage before any disaster occurs.

If you have questions or concerns about what your policy will cover in the event of a natural disaster, make sure to speak to your insurance provider.

Also, your state’s Department of Insurance can speak to you about different coverage requirements in each state, as well as any situations that a natural disaster may not be covered under your traditional auto insurance policy.

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Here's what you need to know...
  • Your car insurance policy normally covers your vehicle from flood damage under your comprehensive coverage
  • To get your policy to cover your car for flood damages, you normally need to have comprehensive coverage in place before the flood damage occurs
  • On your insurance policy, comprehensive coverage protects your car in the event damages happen that are not related to a collision
  • This coverage choice normally carries a deductible, an amount that you are responsible for before your policy limits apply

Flood damage is one of the many damages that nature can unleash on your vehicle; many times without enough time to plan ahead. Flooding not only causes dangerous driving conditions, but it can be damaging to your vehicle when it’s parked at your home.

It’s important that you understand the ways your car insurance policy can help protect your car when flooding occurs.

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Do you carry policy coverage for flood damages?


Damage caused to your vehicle by flooding is usually covered under the comprehensive coverage option, which you may have selected when you purchased your policy.

Comprehensive coverage is sometimes known as “other-than-collision” coverage, or coverage that applies to incidents that are not caused by a collision.

Under the coverage that your comprehensive policy option offers, damages caused by natural events are often covered. This means that your comprehensive coverage option will normally provide coverage for hail damages, fire, tornados, and even flooding.

This may mean your policy provides coverage if your car is damaged by flooding.

When you’re looking for insurance coverage, or even if you have coverage already, it’s vital that you determine what your policy covers.

Different providers may have different conditions on what is covered under your comprehensive coverage option, and there may even be time limitations on when you have to have the coverage in place before your policy terms apply.

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Do you meet the conditions for coverage listed in your policy?

Flood damages, just like any damage covered under your comprehensive policy, normally come with a deductible. The deductible is the amount that you will normally be responsible for before your insurance policy limits will take effect.

This is normally one of the primary conditions that your insurance provider may require for your coverage to apply.

In addition to your deductible, your insurance provider may have special coverage conditions due to flood damages; these types of events tend to impact many different vehicles all at once.

For instance, your provider may have special time limits on when to file the claim or how you have to proceed with the claim settlement process.

It’s important to remember that what your state requires for insurance coverage may not be adequate to cover damages from hail. When you are shopping around for insurance policies, it’s important to discuss your concerns and any possible coverage situations with your provider.

Should you file a claim for flood damages?

Your car insurance coverage may cover flood damages, but that does not always mean you should file a claim.

While flood damages may be an unexpected loss, filing a claim may not be your best option. It’s important to take your policy limits and your insurance deductible into account before you file a claim since you will normally be required to pay the deductible before your policy limits apply.

Before filing the claim, you should first document any damages to your car as long as it is safe to do so. Your insurance provider may have requests on what you should do to document the damages, such as taking photographs of your car.

This may help you figure out if filing a claim for the flood damages is the best option for you, or if it would make more sense for you to cover the damages yourself.

As mentioned before, it’s always important to mitigate any additional damages if possible. In the case of flood damages, it may be difficult to mitigate damage once the flooding has started. Your insurance provider will appreciate anything you can do to reduce further damages.

Finally, you should speak to your insurance provider about the claim process when possible.

In the event of flooding damages, you may need to follow unique conditions to qualify for coverage. This normally occurs when many people are affected by the flooding, but your provider can explain any coverage conditions you should be aware of.

Are you covered?


Flood damages are not always predictable, but you can prepare for the unexpected as best as possible. The first thing you should do is go over your car insurance coverage to determine what your policy covers.

If you do not find comprehensive coverage listed on your policy, or you are not sure what your policy contains, make sure to speak to your insurance provider.

If possible, move your vehicle to a safer location. If your car is already damaged by the flooding, then contact your insurance provider for further guidance on what you can do to limit your damages.

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Things to Remember...

Paying your premiums month in and month out will pay off when you need financial assistance to cover the labor that must be performed to get your vehicle back to its pre-loss condition.

While auto insurance safeguards you from footing the bill when you need to hire a professional who can buff out scratches or replace panels, after your claim is settled you can easily change your mind about getting the repairs done.

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When will your own policy pay to repair damage to your car?


Your auto insurance policy won’t always pay for your own vehicle repairs. If your car is damaged, you need to be sure that you have sufficient coverage before you pick up the phone to make a claim.

When you don’t have physical damage coverage and the insurer can’t attempt to collect from any other driver, your claim will be closed.

Since a basic insurance policy that includes only state-mandated requirements doesn’t pay for your own damage claims, building the right personal policy from the start is imperative.

Your policy will only pay for first-party damage to your covered auto or a temporary substitute vehicle if you carry one of the following coverage options:

  • Comprehensive – This coverage pays for claims made for damage to your car when it’s caused by fire, flood, falling objects, theft, vandalism, or contact with live animals.
  • Collision – This coverage pays for claims made for damage to your car when it’s sustained in a rollover accident or a collision.
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage – This coverage pays for claims made for damage to your car when the vehicle is damaged in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance. If you don’t have collision insurance, the UMPD coverage will pay up to $3500 for repairs

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How much will your auto insurance company pay when you file a damage claim?

Your auto insurance company is only obligated to pay up to your car’s Actual Cash Value under the terms of the contract.

As long as the damage doesn’t exceed the car’s depreciated value, a check will be cut to cover the full cost to repair the car as long as the per hour rate for labor is reasonable. You should check to see what the carrier considers reasonable.

Will the company cut the check directly to you or to the repair shop?


If you’ve been offered a settlement from your insurer, you might start to think of all of the ways that you can use the money.

After all, a dented bumper or a scraped passenger door doesn’t affect how the vehicle runs. Before you start planning how you’re going to use the money, you might want to find out how the check is cut.

Some companies that deal directly with affiliate repair shops. These are the shops the insurer will recommend that you use.

Unless you tell the company otherwise, the carrier will cut the check to the auto body shop that they refer clients to.

Luckily, if you tell the insurer you want to use another shop or repair the car yourself, you should have that option. If you choose this route, the check will be cut to you.

What happens if the vehicle is currently being leased or financed?

Your plans to save the settlement money or go on vacation can be thwarted if the vehicle that you’re making a claim on is financed or leased.

A loss payee clause means that the lender must receive notice when your policy changes.

Loss payees and additional insureds are also named on the claims check when it’s issued.

You can’t cash the check until the lender or lessor is willing to sign the check and give you permission to cash it. Some lenders and lessors won’t do this unless the money is going to the repair shop.

What can happen if you keep the money instead of getting the repairs done?


There are dangers to holding onto the money and living with the damage. One of the drawbacks of doing this is that your company might ask to inspect your car to see if the repairs have been made.

If they haven’t, they may deny you the option to carry physical damage coverage. Some carriers will note that the damage exists so they don’t pay twice for the same damage.

If your car is financed or it holds some value, carrying comprehensive and collision may be worth considering. If you currently don’t have full coverage, you should see how much it costs.

Use an online quote comparison tool, enter your personal information, and determine if full coverage makes financial sense.

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Here's what you need to know...
  • When you have an accident, it’s important to notify your insurance company of the incident in a timely manner regardless of who’s deemed at fault
  • Your insurer requires you to call the claims department and inform them of a loss even if you’re sure you’re not negligent. The requirement is in place to keep the company in the loop and also to ensure that you’re practiced from bad faith tactics
  • When you file a claim through your own insurer, the claims adjuster who is assigned to your claim will record your statement and communicate with the other claims adjuster who represents their policyholder
  • If you file a third-party claim with the other party’s insurance without notifying your insurer, you don’t have a professional claims expert to represent you. This could put you at risk of accepting a low offer because of the way that you worded a statement

When you get into an accident, the fault determination has a lot to do with which auto insurance company takes care of the benefits.

Being not at fault for a collision typically means that the other party’s insurance company will pay for your repair bills and your medical bills as long as the amount is below the driver’s third-party liability limits.

If you’re definite that you’ll be found not at fault for your most recent accident, avoid the temptation of keeping the claim a secret from your carrier.

So many drivers choose not to file a claim against their policy out of fear that their rates will skyrocket because of an incident that was beyond your control.

Before you start to handle the claim on your own, here’s what you need to know.

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Consider What Type of System Your State Operates Under

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If the other driver is at fault, you’d think that it’s just common sense that they are liable for your medical bills. While this is the case in most states, it’s not the case in states with their own no-fault systems.

In these states, you can only collect for damage claims under the other person’s policy.

In the United States, there are two types of insurance systems: fault states and no-fault states.

In fault states, also called tort states, you can file a claim against the other driver’s Bodily Injury coverage when you’re not to blame.

In no-fault states, the accident-related medical bills that you sustain are covered under your own policy regardless of who’s to blame.

Contact the Police to File a Report to Safeguard Yourself

Not all companies will ask you to submit a police report when you’re filing your claim. Since you don’t have to call the police to arrive at the scene of a minor accident, you might not have a report to accompany your statement.

Taking the extra step can truly protect you as the claim is being investigated.

One thing that all insurance experts will tell you is that you should never admit fault or make statements that can be misconstrued at the scene of the crash.

If the other guy made the mistake of apologizing for hitting you, it’s easy for the fault to be determined right at the scene.

They will later realize that this apology cemented the fact that they were to blame so they may change their statement after the fact.

Get the Officer’s Information While You’re Still at the Scene


If you have a police report, you can avoid the disputes that make claims settlements drawn out and stressful.

Since you probably can’t get the whole report at the scene, jot down the officer’s badge number and the department that they work so that you can give the insurer this information.

The claims adjuster will then run the report so that they can review it.

Contact Your Insurance Company to Start the Claims Process

When both you and the police agree that you’re the innocent party, you can call the other company to file your claim. It’s best to avoid doing this because you can easily make a statement that will affect how much you’re compensated and how quickly the claim is processed.

Even though you’re filing your claim through your carrier, it will still proceed as the at-fault driver’s company.

You will give your insurer all of the information that they request and then the claims adjuster will help guide you through the process.

Even better, the adjuster will contact the other carrier to initiate the claim and share statements so fault can officially be allocated.

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What type of information must you give when you’re filing the claim?

It’s important to collect as much information as possible whenever you have an incident that will turn into a claim.

The police report will contain some information, but you need other details because the company will do their own research to determine fault.

The report helps, but the company does look at the damage, the scene, and actions to determine who pays. Giving the most accurate information that paints the big picture is crucial if you don’t want fault to be passed on to you.

Here’s some information you’ll need to start the process when you call your claims department:

  • The name of the driver
  • The name of the vehicle owner
  • The car’s insurance company contact information and policy number
  • Contact information for passengers and witnesses outside of the car
  • Pictures of all of the damage to both cars
  • Location of your vehicle after the accident

What are the drawbacks of contacting the other driver’s insurance first?


If you decide that you want to take care of things by working directly with the other driver’s claims department, there are some risks that you should know about.

The adjuster that you speak with represents their client and will try to find discrepancies in your statements to push fault on you.

The company will also talk to their client to see if their statement matches, which delays the process. If you get a low-ball offer, you don’t have an adjuster to help you negotiate unless you work with your company.

It’s better to let the company you pay handle all of this.

If you’re not happy with the service that you received through your carrier when filing your claim, you should consider switching.

Make sure to get instant quotes for coverage with large competitors and then you can research claims satisfaction to choose the best carrier.

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Here's what you need to know...
  • When you buy auto insurance, a liability-only policy will not provide coverage for your vehicle
  • If you add comprehensive and collision insurance to your personal auto policy, the policy will pay for covered repairs on your vehicle to restore it to its pre-loss condition
  • When your vehicle is dented, it’s not always covered by your insurance. The cause of the dent is very important. The damage must have happened suddenly and not worsened over time or the claim will be denied
  • Comprehensive coverage will be available to use if the dent was caused by a falling object, a hail storm, a vandal, or an accident with a live animal. Dent claims are subject to a deductible
  • Collision will be available to use if you collide with another car or another object and your car is dented. You must pay a deductible before the carrier will pay for body work

It’s amazing how different a car can look with a few dents. Your once perfect vehicle could easily turn into a blemished one because of a careless shopper in a parking lot or a stray baseball.

What’s even more frustrating is that even small dents can be expensive to repair at professional body shops who have all of the right dent repair equipment.

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Since the dent doesn’t affect how your car functions, it’s more than likely the last thing that you want to spend your hard-earned money on repairing. Luckily, there’s a chance that you don’t have to come out of pocket to fix your vehicle if you carry the right insurance.

Here’s a guide to auto insurance and how dent repair is covered:

What type of policy do you have?


Whether or not your policy is going to pay for dents and dings depends on how they appeared and also what type of policy you’re carrying at the time.

If you have a basic auto insurance policy, you’re not going to have the optional first-party coverage options that you need to file a claim for damage to your own car.

Basic auto policies provide strictly third-party coverage that pays for the other person’s vehicle and their medical bills.

The mandatory coverage options that you’ll find on every basic plan include Bodily Injury and Property Damage.

In some states, drivers are required to carry Medical Payments, Personal Injury Protection, and Uninsured Motorist as well. None of these will help you pay for your physical damage expenses.

What type of coverage do you need for dent repair coverage?

If you’d like your policy to pay for dent repair, you’ll need to add comprehensive or both comprehensive and collision to your plan.

Each of these coverage options falls under the coverage category called physical damage coverage.

In your policy booklet, it’ll be called Part D: Coverage for Damage to Your Auto. Each coverage pays for different incidents.

When does your comprehensive coverage pay for body work?

Comprehensive is often referred to as Other Than Collision because it pays when you have an incident that’s beyond your control.

Dent claims often fall under comprehensive because they can happen when you’re in your car and when you’re sleeping in your home.

The different causes covered under your comprehensive coverage include:

  • Falling objects (tree, fruit, objects falling off of a truck)
  • Hail falling during a storm
  • A door hitting your vehicle while you’re parked
  • An act of vandalism
  • A deer running into your car while crossing the road

To file a claim for a comprehensive loss, the damage must exceed your deductible.

Luckily, the deductible carried for comprehensive is often lower than the other deductible on the policy. Some people carry a deductible as low as $50. The coverage will only pay up to your car’s value to cover the cost of repair.

When does your collision coverage pay for dent repair?


Collision is defined as the physical damage coverage that pays when your car is damaged after it collides with any type of property.

You can collide with a barrier, a wall, an object sitting in the road, or a vehicle and have your damage coverage. Your collision will only pay if you’re at fault in an accident where two or more cars are involved.

Like comprehensive coverage, collision pays when the collision deductible is exceeded. You must pay the deductible before the company will issue a check. If the car’s Actual Cash Value is exceeded, the company will settle the claim as a total loss instead of a collision loss.

Is there a limit to how much insurers will pay?

Companies may have partners with body repair companies to ensure that the cost of labor is covered. If you decide to get your work done elsewhere, there’s a limit to how much the company will pay for labor.

You should see if the company charges more than this limit before you choose the repair shop.

It’s possible to make a claim against your policy to cover the cost of dent repairs. If you’re not carrying the right coverage, it’s time to get quotes for a full coverage policy. Do a thorough comparison by using an online rate comparison tool, and then you can secure adequate coverage at a fair price.

Enter your zip code into the FREE tool below to find car insurance rates that fit your budget!

Here's what you need to know...
  • An auto insurance policy is an indemnity contract that’s meant to protect you against losses that could potentially happen when you own a car
  • When you buy auto insurance, the price that you pay is determined by your risk class and the property that you’re insuring. Rates vary from person to person
  • Most states have laws in place that require vehicle owners to buy a minimum amount of insurance.
  • You can build a custom policy that includes all of the coverage options that you need along with the coverage that’s required by law

Buying a car and buying car insurance go hand-in-hand. Not only does car insurance provide you with a high level of protection, it’s also a mandated requirement in almost every state in the United States.

Since you’re going to have to prove that you have an insurance policy before you register your car, it’s best that you understand what a policy is and what it provides

While insurance is advertised like other consumer goods in your local retail stores, it’s more of a service than it is a tangible item.

Since you can only put your insurance to use when you have a loss, it’s important to build a comprehensive policy.

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What is the purpose of auto insurance and when are you required to buy it?


When you buy an auto insurance policy, you’re entering into an indemnity contract. Since most states hold legal owners of vehicles accountable for the damage that their vehicles cause, buying insurance is a must.

By law, you’re only required to buy insurance when you’re the legal owner of a car and you live in a state with compulsory insurance laws.

While a majority of states have mandatory insurance requirements, there are a few that allow you to provide proof of financial responsibility instead. You can deposit cash, buy a bond, or file for a self-insurance certificate.

It’s up to you to decide if you would like to put your money at risk to avoid paying auto insurance premiums.

When you buy an auto insurance policy, you have a guaranteed amount of protection that will help you pay for third-party and even first-party claims. If you are contemplating insuring yourself, make sure to research your insurance options first.

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What type of insurance is required by law?

Insurance requirements vary by state. Since a majority of states operate under a tort law system, you will be required to buy third-party liability coverage. If you live in one of the dozen states that has a modified no-fault system, you’re also required to buy Personal Injury Protection.

Here’s a breakdown of what required coverage options pay:

  • Bodily Injury Liability — pays for medical treatment costs when you cause an accident and another party is injured
  • Property Damage Liability — pays for repair costs or replacement expenses when you damage or total someone else’s property
  • Personal Injury Protection — pays for your own medical expenses and other related expenses that are incurred when you’re injured in an auto accident as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian

Are there any other coverage options available?

Buying a basic policy will help you comply with state requirements, but that doesn’t mean that you have sufficient coverage.

If you really want to have a buffer of protection over your head while you’re driving your car, it’s best to build a custom policy. You can do this by raising your liability limits and adding optional forms of protection:

  • Uninsured Motorist Protection pays for your medical bills and immediate emergency expenses after you’re in a crash with an uninsured driver (required in some states)
  • Medical Payments — pays for reasonable medical expenses incurred no matter who’s to blame for an auto accident. You can be a passenger, a driver, a cyclist, or even a pedestrian
  • Comprehensive — pays for the cost to repair your vehicle if it’s damaged or totaled after a non-collision loss
  • Collision — pays for the cost to repair your car, up to its Actual Cash Value, after you collide with another vehicle or object
  • Rental Car — pays for a rental if your car is damaged in a loss. If you’re not at fault for the loss, the other insurer will pay

How much will my auto insurance policy cost?


Insurance policies are sold in terms. You can buy a policy that lasts for either six months or a year at a time. Each policy is personalized.

The premium that you’re quoted is based on your personal rating factors that represent how likely you are to cost the insurer money.

Since everyone has different risk factors, you’ll find that your rate could be dramatically higher than someone else’s, even if you have a clean driving record.

Here are some of the personal factors that can affect your insurance rates after you’ve chosen the coverage options that you want to carry:

  • Age, gender, and marital status
  • Type of vehicle and vehicle safety rating
  • Occupation and vehicle use
  • Credit rating
  • Claims history for the past three years
  • Driving history for the last three to seven years
  • Annual mileage
  • Garaging zip code

Now that you have an understanding of how insurance works, it’s time to find out how much you’ll pay for coverage.

The first step to finding competitive rates is to get auto insurance quotes from several carriers. The quickest way to do this is to use an online rate comparison tool.

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Here's what you need to know...
  • When an insurance claim is made, liability investigations determine who is at fault
  • Various types of evidence are used to determine fault
  • Confirmation of coverage is necessary for a claim to proceed

Motor vehicle accidents occur frequently, and many people have already found themselves involved in insurance claims related to these accidents. Unfortunately, many others will also find themselves dealing with insurance claims.

Being insured with a company that is known for handling claims quickly and equitably and having an understanding of how claims work will make the experience as painless as possible.

Accidents can result in damage to one vehicle, to multiple vehicles, to property other than vehicles, and even to people.

When accidents occur, the insurance carrier will typically be represented by members of the claims adjuster staff. The claims personnel involved in handling the claim will conduct an investigation that will address liability, coverage, and damages.

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Investigating Liability

AdobeStock_53648852-1600x1600Sometimes, liability investigations are simple. For example, if a driver rear ends another vehicle, the party that runs into the back of the other car is almost always considered to be the liable party.

However, if multiple vehicles are involved, determining which party is at fault may be more involved, and accidents involving injury or death require more investigation as well.

There are many tools the claims department can use to investigate accidents. Police reports are often a source of addresses and phone numbers. Sometimes officers will indicate one party as the at fault party.

It’s important to remember the officer’s determination does not end an investigation because the officer is often basing his remarks on what he has been told by the parties involved and not on a full, complete investigation.

Investigations may also include taking recorded statements from those involved as well as any witnesses. Some people are reluctant to provide statements.

Without the involved parties version of what occurred, an investigation can become more difficult and drawn out.

You should also know that if you retain an attorney, the insurance company must communicate with you through that attorney. You will get your information from your attorney, not directly from the insurance company.

Photographs of the scene and the property involved may be taken and a diagram drawn. In claims involving great bodily injury or death, an accident reconstruction team may be called in to document further exactly what occurred.

Ideally, multiple investigations will yield the same results. However, this does not always happen. In a case of disputed liability and in the absence of any evidence to support the other party’s version, most insurance companies will find for their client.

Investigating Coverage

With the investigation complete, coverage can be addressed. Policies are written with different coverages depending on coverages mandated by law as well as by optional coverages chosen by the policyholder.

If you’re responsible for damages and injury to other parties, the insurer will make sure that your policy is in good standing, confirm that you have liability insurance, and determine the limits of your coverage.

Likewise, if you are in an accident and the other person is at fault, their company will make sure that coverage is available for your damages.

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Investigating Damages

Once liability has been determined and coverage confirmed, the damages will need to be calculated. Damages to vehicles can be handled using several different methods that include:

  • Estimates
  • Appraisals
  • Direct Repair Shops

– Appraising Damages

AdobeStock_82551322-1600x1600Sometimes, if vehicle damages are minimal, the company intending to pay for the damages will request that the owner obtains two or three estimates.

Payment can be made based on the lower of the estimates provided the estimates reflect the same repairs, and there is not a huge difference in the pricing.

It is also not uncommon for estimates to be sent to an estimate review vendor. This vendor will obtain an agreed price with one of the body shops.

The damaged party can use any body shop as long as the body shop agrees to complete the work for the agreed price as determined by the estimate review company.

Appraisers are also used to determine vehicular damages. Appraisers have an extensive knowledge of vehicle repairs,  use special software in conjunction, and a vehicle inspection to write an estimate.

They are also able to write supplemental estimates should additional damage be found after the vehicle is torn down.

– Total Loss

dollarphotoclub_85968175-1600x1600-1If a vehicle is a total loss, appraisers can determine the actual cash value of the vehicle, which will include additions for upgrades to the vehicle as well as deductions for prior damage or wear and tear that is greater than would be expected for a particular vehicle.

Some insurance carriers have direct repair shops. These body shops have an agreement with various insurance carriers. On-site personnel write estimates at the shop and coordinate with insurance carriers concerning repairs to be done and the cost of the repairs.

The advantage to direct repair shops is these facilities result in one stop for the vehicle owner since both the body shop and the insurance company are present on site.

Some repair businesses even have a car rental agency on site to expedite the pickup and dropoff of substitution transportation.

– Property Damage

If damage occurs to physical property such as buildings, estimates may be requested. If the damage is severe, some insurers will send out a Property Specialist or Large Loss Adjuster to determine the damages and assist in coordinating the repairs.

– Bodily Injury

Finally, if a bodily injury investigation is warranted, an adjuster will evaluate medical records, lost wages, expert reports, impairments, future earning capacity and a host of other items that can affect the value of a bodily injury claim before attempting to resolve the claim with the injured party.

Resolving an insurance claim is a process. Liability must be determined, so the party responsible for the damages is the party paying for the damages.

Coverage must be verified, so the parties are paid what they are owed. Finally, damages must be determined, so claims are fully resolved.

As a vehicle owner or occupant, you’ll want to be sure your claim gets resolved if you’re in an accident.

Carefully comparing the claims handling reputations of insurers and having an understanding of the claims process will put you in a better position to make sure your claims will be resolved and you’ll be back on the road as soon as possible.

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Here's what you need to know...
When you own valuable property, you take steps to prevent losses at all costs. Since cars are unique types of property that are often on-the-go, it’s difficult to keep them locked away in a garage at all times.

When your car is parked in public, it’s virtually impossible to keep it shielded from all of the hazards it can face on a daily basis.

Whenever you park your car and you leave it out in the open, it’s possible for someone with bad intent to key it. Car keying is one of the most common acts of vandalism against cars and also one that is most difficult to avoid.

While a car alarm might alert you that someone is near your vehicle, it doesn’t alert you until after the paint has been scarred. It’s important to build an insurance policy that provides you the coverage you need.

Start building your policy by comparison shopping. Enter your zip code into our comparison tool to get started!

Is car keying a major problem?

AdobeStock_52522977-1600x1600If you take a look at your key ring, it’s full of a dozen or more perfectly crafted weapons that can be used to key a car. One of the reasons why keying is one of the most popular acts of vandalism is because it’s so easy to do. A vengeful ex, a rebellious teen, or a spiteful neighbor are all suspects on the list after a car keying.

Typically, residents in an area only begin to take notice a problem when dozens of cars are hit by the same vandals. What is scary is that anyone can fall victim to this malicious type of damage. You don’t need to have an enemy to be a victim.

How much does it cost to repair a car when it’s keyed?

It’s amazing to think that something as small as a lock key can do a great deal of damage. Unfortunately for vehicle owners, fixing damage after a car has been keyed isn’t as easy as painting over the scratches.

If the vandal put any muscle into scratches, they will be deep enough where they must be sanded and buffed out before the panel is painted.

Since repairing gouges requires a lot more attention than repairing a surface scratch, the cost to repair a car that’s been thoroughly keyed ranges between $200 and $2000 per panel. The actual repair cost depends on several factors.

Here are some of the factors that can affect how much your repairs will cost:

  • The vehicle make and model
  • The type of paint used on the car’s exterior
  • How deep and long the scratches are
  • How many panels were scratched
  • The shop’s rate per hour for scratch repair

What type of coverage do you need for protection against vandals?


If you decide that you want to keep your car insurance premiums as low as possible, you can buy a bare minimum policy that includes only what’s required by the state.

Policies won’t pay for car damage claims for policyholders that carry only basic coverage options. If you want coverage for your car, you need to add at least comprehensive coverage to your policy.

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What types of claims does comprehensive coverage pay for?

Comprehensive coverage is a form of first-party coverage that will pay for the repairs that are needed to your covered vehicle after it is damaged in a covered loss.

Unlike collision coverage, comprehensive pays for losses that don’t involve a collision. The only exception to that rule is when you collide with a live animal.

Other losses covered include:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Flood
  • Hail
  • Damage caused by animals

What should you do if you have a keyed car claim?


When you discover that your car is keyed, you should take appropriate steps to ensure your claim is settled quickly. Make sure to file a police report so that the insurance company has the report for their records.

Call your agent to file your claim and submit the paperwork as requested. The insurer may want to inspect the car before repairs are made.

Comprehensive costs an average of $138 per year. If you are not happy with how much you’re paying for the coverage, get quotes from other carriers. Use our FREE online rate comparison tool by entering your zip code and you can see competitive rates instantly.

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