What Does Car Insurance Actually Cover?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Steven Jones with Phillips Law Group.
While not every state requires vehicle owners to purchase insurance, every state does require them to prove some type of financial responsibility. While bonds or other means of financial approval may be possible, most drivers choose to purchase insurance, at least at the minimum amount required by the state. Auto insurance can protect you in a variety of ways, some of which may be surprising. However, other things you might expect to be covered by car insurance may require additional coverage or not be available at all. If you have been in a serious accident, reach out to a car accident attorney before dealing with the insurance companies; car accident attorneys can help you maximize your insurance to provide you with as much protection as possible.
Car insurance typically covers the following:
- Lost wages. If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident and are too injured to return to work, your liability insurance may help pay for your lost wages up to a certain point.
- Rodent damage. Rodent damage is actually remarkably common; for such little creatures, the damage a single rodent can cause to a vehicle is substantial, especially if they chew through the wiring. Chewed leather and other types of damage can be expensive to fix, but may very well be covered at least partially by your insurance policy.
- Car rental. Many car insurance policies include coverage to pay for a rental car if yours is damaged in an accident and unable to drive.
- Pedestrian/bicycle accidents. A little-known fact about auto insurance is that it actually follows the driver themself, not necessarily the vehicle. This means that if you are injured in a motor vehicle collision as a pedestrian or while riding a bike, your car insurance could help you recover.
- Potholes and falling objects. When a pothole or falling object causes an accident, your collision or comprehensive car insurance may apply to help pay for the damages.
- Animals. This knowledge may come particularly in handy if a wild animal comes into contact with your car. Depending on where you live, the likelihood of this might vary. However, if you hit a deer or another animal breaks into your car, your insurance policy may very well cover the resulting damages.
- Detailing. If your vehicle was stolen or otherwise vandalized, your insurance may pay to have it super-cleaned to remove any new stains or other substances that might have been left in your car.
- “Acts of God”. This refers to large natural disasters such as earthquakes, which are all but impossible to guard against. If your vehicle suffers from a natural disaster, your insurance may be able to help.
- Medical bills. Depending on your insurance policy, your medical bills after an accident might be covered up until a certain point. Every state has some form of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage which may inherently come with the policy or can be added and increased to the policyholders desired amount.
- Uninsured or underinsured motorists. It is not uncommon to find yourself involved in an accident with another driver who either does not have insurance or does not have sufficient insurance to pay your damage. In either situation, if you have purchased UIM insurance, you may be covered. However, if you have not added this coverage to your policy, you could be out of luck.
Car insurance typically does not cover:
- Theft of items inside the vehicle. This may be surprising, but when personal items are stolen from inside a vehicle but the car is otherwise undamaged, those items will most likely not be covered by insurance.
- Custom parts. For those who customize their vehicle, it is quite possible that the custom parts will not be covered by insurance. In fact, in some cases, custom parts may even nullify an existing policy to some extent. However, custom parts can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to talk to your insurance provider about insuring those parts or increasing the overall coverage for the vehicle.
- Delivery service. With rideshare and food delivery services expanding in recent years, many vehicle owners are using their personal cars to perform their jobs. However, depending on the insurance policy, damage that occurs to a vehicle in the course of its delivery service may not be covered by the owner’s insurance policy. If you intend to use your vehicle for means other than personal, talk to your insurance provider about additional coverage options.
To learn more about what your policy does and does not cover, or for help maximizing your insurance benefits after an accident, talk to a car accident attorney sooner rather than later.