Does car insurance cover road debris?

More than 25,000 car accidents are caused by road debris every year. Your auto insurance covers road debris, including damage from a road hazard, but your rates might increase.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: May 22, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Road debris is typically covered by car insurance, minus your deductible
  • Whether the road hazard is airborne or on the ground can impact claim filing
  • Weigh the costs, benefits, and extent of damage before filing a claim

As a driver, you are always faced with potential perils while you are behind the wheel. Think about everything that is happening around you as you are driving down a busy highway.

You have cars all around you:

  • to the left
  • to the right
  • in front
  • behind

You have the potential for objects to be sitting in the middle of the road at any moment, as well as the opportunity for anything to fly off of a car near you.

You are even faced with trees, light posts, guardrails, among other things that can also directly impact you and your time on the road.

If you are hit with some road debris, what should you expect from your car insurance carrier?

If you have ever needed help figuring out whether or not road debris is going to be covered by your car insurance, and what impact it will have on your rates go forward, you want to think about it based on the specific scenarios that are present.

Compare car insurance quotes right here for free. You may be able to save hundreds on your car insurance coverage.

Flying Road Debris Towards the Car


One of the most common types of debris that you are going to face as a driver is that which is flying towards your vehicle, airborne. This can be debris that has flown off of the bed of a truck, or perhaps come off of a tree that is next to the road.

No matter what the type of debris is, the likelihood is that it is going to be handled the same way by your car insurance carrier. A flying paint can off of a truck or a falling tree branch makes no difference to how your insurance claim is going to be handled.

Any road hazard that is airborne when it strikes your car is considered to be unavoidable damage.

When you file a claim with your car insurance carrier, you can expect this to be covered as part of what is known as your comprehensive coverage.

What you are going to want to pay attention to here when filing the claim is the deductible that your policy has, which you will pay out of pocket, and the associated comprehensive limits.

The one exception to the deductible rule has to do with something airborne that has only cracked the windshield. Most will have a piece of their car insurance policy specific to windshield damage.

If your windshield cracks, you may have a policy that lets it be repaired or replaced entirely without any deductible applying. Pay attention to the policy coverage terms!

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Debris Sitting on the Road

If you are driving and there is debris that is just sitting on the road, it also poses a significant risk to your car.

When you file a claim due to hitting something on the road, it is going to be a part of your collision insurance, treated the same way as if you hit another vehicle.

If your car insurance carrier considers you at fault, meaning you could have avoided the accident but did not, you may not get the benefit payout you would expect. States are racing to repair roads, but danger always persists.

Filing a Road Hazard Claim and Insurance Rate Impact


Whenever you have a situation where road debris has struck your vehicle, you want to assess how bad the damage is and whether or not you should file a car insurance claim.

If you have damage of just $300, for example, you may want to get it repaired on your own rather than filing a claim with your carrier.

Once you file a claim, it is going to go against your future driving record, causing car insurance rates at the time of renewal to also increase.

Weigh the costs and benefits of the claim filing so you can be sure you will recover adequately to make it worth your while.

Debris on the road is something that we all have to deal with and be aware of. As a consumer for car insurance, though, you want to think about debris when you are shopping for your policy, not after it has caused you to file a claim.

Pay attention to your deductible, to the comprehensive and collision limits you are buying. Price compare the various insurers so that the premium you pay in exchange for your coverage is appropriate. Enter your zip code below to compare today!

You never know when debris could come flying at you on the road.

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