9 Surprising Things That Car Insurance Covers

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Police line in front of a burning car during a riot or protest
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Just as your homeowners insurance may cover unexpected costs, so too your car insurance could have hidden benefits.

From the work of pesky rodents to damage from falling branches, many surprising auto insurance claims can get paid.

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

Lava in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Robert Crow / Shutterstock.com

The Kilauea volcano in Hawaii is something that keeps residents wary of potential property damage. When it erupted in 2018, it sent lava through residential areas, destroying everything in its path. Fortunately, anyone who lost a car to the 2018 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

Riot damages
Bumble Dee / Shutterstock.com

If your vehicle was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was 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

Car vandal keying scratches on a vehicle and vandalizing property
FotoBob / Shutterstock.com

Of course, it doesn’t have to be rioters that damage 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

Cornelius Doppes / Shutterstock.com

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

Missiles ready to launch into the air
Hamara / Shutterstock.com

We hopefully don’t have to worry about military missiles hitting our cars, but you never know — life can get pretty crazy. Missile strikes are covered by comprehensive coverage as are more common falling hazards such as branches and ice.

6. Pothole-related damage

Upset driver near pothole
Vladimir Mucibabic / Shutterstock.com

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

After a car accident collision two people call car insurance
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

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

Dog in car passenger side.
Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com

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

Worried woman at home
Zivica Kerkez / Shutterstock.com

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.

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