14 unexpected things auto insurance covers
If you have auto insurance, you probably expect it to protect you in the event of an accident. But there are also some unusual things covered by auto insurance, including those pesky groundhogs that made the headlines recently. And that’s just the beginning.
We chatted with Jim Hickey, Vice President and Head of Personal Insurance at World Insurance Associates, about some of the wacky auto insurance coverage you might not have thought of. He told us what’s covered, what’s not, and the types of coverage you need to make sure the insurance company foots the bill.
What the comprehensive insurance covers
Auto insurance policies that include comprehensive coverage protect you from the accidents listed below. With the increase in weather-related insurance claims, if you don’t have comprehensive coverage, it may be worth adding it to your policy.
1. Hail, trees and golf balls
Has your car been the victim of a hailstorm? Or maybe you live a little too close to a golf course. Whether natural or man-made, if a falling object damages your car, you’re covered.
2. Damage caused by rodents
If a groundhog, rat, squirrel, or other rodent gets into your vehicle and gnaws at cables, tubes, or upholstery, your auto insurance will cover the damage. Your policy also covers damage caused by insects.
If you live in an area where earthquakes are frequent, you don’t need to purchase a stand-alone policy to cover your car. Auto insurance covers damage caused by the earthquake. Check with your home insurer about a separate policy (in addition to your landlord’s) to protect your home.
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4. Puddles of water
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine the depth of a puddle before crossing it. If you walk through water that floods your engine or causes other damage, you’re covered.
If someone keys your car, smashes your windows, or cuts your tires, your auto insurer has you covered.
6. Floods, tornadoes and hurricanes
Water and wind can cause significant damage to vehicles, sometimes rendering them unusable. If a flood, tornado, or hurricane damages your car, insurance covers the cost of repairs.
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7. Forest fires
In 2020, nearly 60,000 wildfires burned more than 10 million acres in the United States, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. If a forest fire damages your vehicle, you can rest easy knowing that your police will pay for the repairs.
Sinks often occur without warning. When they do, they can swallow everything in their path. If a sinkhole damages your car, insurance covers you.
There are 169 potentially active volcanoes in the United States, according to the US Geological Survey. Lava flows, ash falls and gas clouds are some of the risks you might face if you live nearby. As long as your auto insurance policy has full coverage, your insurer will cover damage caused by a volcano.
10. Wild animals
Do you live in an area where deer regularly roam your yard or where bears and raccoons forage for food in your garbage cans? If you run into a wild animal while driving your car or get bored looking in the trash and decide your vehicle would make a better chew toy, insurance pays for the damage.
If you sell your car only to find that the personal check the buyer gave you will not be cashed, it could be considered theft under your policy and the insurer could cover you. But it depends on the policy, so you will need to check with the insurance company. If you are considering selling your car, it is a good idea to require a more secure form of payment, such as a cashier’s check, which is guaranteed by the financial institution that issues it.
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What Collision and Personal Injury Protection Covers
While comprehensive coverage covers a lot, collision and personal injury coverage can also help, sometimes when you least expect it.
While it’s best to avoid them if you can, accidents do happen. Suppose you are driving over a pothole and you damage the undercarriage or some other part of your car. The collision portion of your policy covers damage, even if the “collision” did not occur with another vehicle.
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Whether a snow plow is driving through your neighborhood to remove a foot of snow or baseball-sized hail, if it hits your car and damages it, the insurance company will pay for the damages when you will have collision coverage. The same is true if a tractor, backhoe, car, truck or other vehicle causes damage to your car.
3. Injuries not caused by collision
You probably know that auto insurance covers the injuries you sustain in the event of an accident. But did you know that injury protection covers injuries that occur as a pedestrian, getting in and out of your car, or working on your vehicle?
What is not covered by auto insurance
While auto insurance covers many life mishaps, it doesn’t cover everything. Here are four accidents that insurance does not cover.
1. Bad fuel
Mistakes happen, and if you accidentally put the wrong kind of fuel in your car, it could damage the engine. But your insurance company won’t pay for the repairs, even if it was an honest mistake.
2. Condensation in the gas tank
Condensation occurs when water vapor turns into water. If it builds up in your gas tank, it can lead to corrosion in the tank or engine, which can be expensive to repair. But unless the condensation happened because someone vandalized your vehicle, the insurance company probably won’t cover it.
Auto parts wear out over time and you need to replace them. It’s routine maintenance, and insurance doesn’t cover it. Check your car’s warranty or go to the nearest auto repair shop. Sometimes the car manufacturer’s extended warranty will cover these items if you purchased one.
4. Golf clubs and laptops
If someone steals personal property from your car, auto insurance will not pay to replace it. If you have tenant or home insurance, your policy will usually cover you up to the policy limit.
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Many states require drivers to maintain a minimum amount of liability insurance, but other types of coverage are generally not required by law. If you are unsure whether your policy covers you for the events described above, you can check with your insurance company or agent.
This story originally took place on Autotrader.com.