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UPDATED: May 15, 2017
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One of the most annoying parts of any car owner’s day is discovering that your car has been accidentally damaged by forces beyond your control. This damage can happen for several reasons including:
- other parked cars
- shopping cars
- road debris
Whenever your car is damaged by accidental means, you often need to get repairs or replacements processed under your insurance policy. It’s important to assess your loss and your options to determine the best course of action to pursue.
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What qualifies as accidental damage to your vehicle?
Accidental damage to your car can take many forms, some of which may be accidental on your part and some of which may be caused by another party.
You can be responsible for accidental damages through your own distracted driving habits or parking habits. Drivers that are more careless or unobservant when driving and parking may damage their vehicles accidentally.
Damage could include scratches and gouges in your car’s body, ripped off side mirrors, or damage to your wheels. Although you are responsible for the loss, you may be covered by your policy.
Accidental damages can also be the result of another party’s poor or careless choices, such as when car doors are opened quickly and dent or scratch your car.
Additionally, another party could fail to put their shopping cart away on a windy day, which could lead to dents and scratches when the cart impacts your vehicle. These are losses you did not cause but may still need to get covered under your insurance policy.
There are other types of accidental damages that can occur, such as road debris that is kicked up by a passing vehicle or turbulent weather. This can cause damage to the body of your car, your wheels, and even your windshield and windows.
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How can you go about getting accidental damage covered under your insurance?
Getting your policy to cover accidental damage is fairly simple, it usually requires carrying the correct coverage for your loss. Once you carry the correct coverage, you’ll need to contact your provider to file a claim and provide accurate, honest details about your loss.
These details allow your provider to investigate the claim and determine if you have coverage for the loss.
Carrying comprehensive coverage on your policy is a necessity if you want to have coverage for accidental damage; this is an optional coverage you can choose to carry.
Many states require you to carry liability coverage to protect other drivers, but comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle. This coverage is often called “other-than-collision” coverage since it does not protect you from losses related to a collision.
What should you remember about insurance claims for accidental damage?
Filing a claim for any accident or damage to your vehicle can affect you in several ways, from increasing your premium to causing your policy to non-renew.
Before deciding to file a claim, it’s important to determine what the best course of action is for your needs.
Some claims for accidental damage may be relatively minor, such as a broken mirror or cosmetic damage. Losses like these may be handled easily without help from your insurance provider, which will help keep your policy premium from increasing.
There may be other losses that are too large for you to handle on your own, such as losses that exceed $1,000 or losses above your deductible amount.
When these types of losses occur, you may need to enlist help from your insurance carrier through the claim process.
Even when claiming such losses you will often have to pay the deductible, which is the amount of any loss that you are responsible for covering. This amount may be a set percentage of your loss or a set dollar amount.
You may want to avoid filing a claim until you know the project cost, since claims that do not exceed your deductible may not be covered.
Remember that filing a claim contributes to your claim history, and a high number of claims or several high-cost claims can cause your policy to change.
Some providers may increase your premiums to offset future losses that may occur. Others may decide to non-renew your policy, which means after a specified date you will no longer have coverage.
The impact of accidental damage can vary, but you can often expect financial expenses when it comes to repairing or replacing your vehicle. You may need to file a claim to get the repair or replacement processed, so your insurance policy may be affected.
Filing a claim can have adverse effects, including an increase in your premium costs or a non-renewal of your policy.
It’s important to remember that accidental damage can take many shapes and forms, including shopping cart dents, door dings, road debris, and broken glass.
When this occurs, there may not be a clear culprit or party responsible and you will need to rely on your insurance policy to help you recover from the loss.
When your car has been damaged, regardless of intent, assessing your damages and determine your course of action is going to be necessary.
In some instances, repairing the damages yourself can keep your insurance costs from going up; this also reduces the number of claims on your insurance history.
If you end up with too many claims, you may find your coverage being changed or your policy being non-renewed.
Make sure to speak to your insurance provider before a loss occurs; this allows you to determine if you carry coverage for accidental damages.
If you cannot find coverage through your current provider for these losses, you may want to get coverage quotes from other providers to compare pricing and available options; changing your policy may be a good choice to better protect your vehicle.
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