What does auto insurance cover?

The good news is that car insurance should cover quite a bit. As always, we advise that drivers check their policy before they purchase it, and they should discuss an insurance dispute with an attorney if the carrier initially denies the claim.

There are different levels of service and coverage drivers can purchase -- comprehensive and collision is the most inclusive and liability is the least expensive and covers fewest types of damage. Some with a less expensive car may be tempted to have less expensive insurance, but it’s really about the damage caused than the worth of your vehicle. The fact is that a serious accident can be financially devastating if policy doesn’t cover the damage or carrier doesn’t honor the claim.

5 types of damage

A recent article outlined some common examples of damage a driver may face.

Natural and man-made damage: Ideally, insurance is there to cover the unforeseeable. The rule of thumb is that stuff is covered when it happens in the blink of an eye (such as a tree falling on your car), but stuff that happens slowly is not (the paint finish of a car you parked under a tree for months is ruined by tree sap).

Windshield divots: A small pebble can leave a ding on your windshield. Carriers encourage drivers to fix this ASAP to avoid further cracking and replacement and carriers may even cover the deductible. Either way, drivers should be covered.

Damage from hitting an animal: Considered an act of nature, damage from hitting a deer or other animal should be covered by comprehensive.

Driving a car you don’t own: Policies will differ on this and it may also depend on the policy of the driver if you loan them your car. The general answer should be yes if you loan out or borrow a car, but there may be caveats if the borrower has a DUI or a bad driving record.

The vehicle is stolen: The carriers should cover this, but rates may go up or your policy may not be renewed if it happens repeatedly.

Crashes caused by work you did: Carriers take a dim view on do-it-yourself car repair. If those brake pads you installed cause an accident, you will probably be liable. If a shop does the work, your policy will cover it, but they may go after the shop for reimbursement.

Involved in a dispute about coverage?

Sometimes the company can make mistakes in interpreting their own policies. If this is a potential bad faith insurance issue, an attorney who handles cases involving ms can be helpful to drivers.

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