9 Things You Didn’t Know Car Insurance Covers

Woman on the phone reporting car damage to her insurance company
Photo by Air Images / Shutterstock.com

Just as your homeowners insurance may cover unexpected costs, so too your car insurance could have hidden benefits.

From pesky rodents to falling branches, auto insurance can pay claims for surprising reasons.

Of course, policy details vary by insurer, and you’ll need comprehensive coverage to get most of these benefits. However, here is a look at some surprising losses your car insurance may cover.

1. Volcanic eruptions

When the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii erupted in 2018, it sent lava through residential areas, destroying everything in its wake. Fortunately, anyone who lost a car to the lava flow was likely reimbursed by their auto insurance, assuming they had comprehensive coverage.

In fact, comprehensive coverage will pay for damages from a wide variety of natural disasters, from wildfires and earthquakes to windstorms.

2. Riots

If your vehicle was in the wrong place at the wrong time and destroyed by rioters, your insurer could step up and pay for the damage. Riots are among the events covered by most comprehensive auto insurance policies.

3. Vandalism

Of course, it doesn’t have to be people rioting that damages your car in order for you to be covered.

Vandalism for any reason can trigger an insurance claim. That could include slashed tires, a keyed door or graffiti spray-painted on the side. However, you’ll need comprehensive coverage to file a claim, and don’t forget that your deductible will apply.

4. Animal damage

Car-deer collisions are a major hazard in parts of the country, and hitting a deer can cause significant damage to your vehicle. Fortunately, insurance policies typically pay for the repairs so long as you have comprehensive coverage.

Having a comprehensive policy can also come in handy for other damage caused by animals, such as rodents making a home under the hood and chewing up wires.

5. Missiles

We hopefully don’t have to worry about missiles hitting our cars, but this is 2020, so it seems like anything is possible. Missile strikes are covered by comprehensive coverage as are more common falling hazards such as branches and ice.

6. Pothole-related damage

Poorly maintained roads are a problem across the nation, but your collision insurance has you covered if hitting a pothole causes damage to your vehicle.

A collision policy will also pay claims should you roll your car or hit a tree.

7. Damage from uninsured motorists

Most states have at-fault insurance laws, which means the insurer of the person who caused the damage pays for the repairs or any associated medical costs.

However, there may be situations in which the at-fault person is uninsured or underinsured. In those cases, your policy will pay your costs so long as you have uninsured motorist coverage.

8. Injured pets

If Fido is riding with you and gets injured in a car accident, your collision coverage could pay for his vet bill. However, there could be limitations on how much your insurer will cover in veterinary bills for pet injuries.

9. Lost wages

Most people know the personal injury protection (PIP) portion of car insurance will cover medical bills. However, you may not realize that this coverage will also cover lost wages should you have to take time off work because of an injury sustained in a car accident.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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