Car accidents are quite common, with Statistic Brain reporting about 5.4 million incidents per year, as recorded by the IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of that total, there are close to 30,000 fatalities per year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
It’s no wonder then, that car insurance companies estimate that you’ll find yourself in a car accident once every 17.9 years of driving, according to Forbes. These are small accidents, causing minor damages and some financial repercussions. However, without the protection and financial security of a car insurance provider, you can quickly find yourself forced to mount together a fairly large amount of money for a common claim you could have avoided with proper coverage.
While most state laws require only that you carry liability coverage, there is some sense in getting covered for more than just the odds that you’ll be involved in a car accident.
Here is a shortlist of some of the most common auto insurance claims – and a good reason why you should reconsider your current policy, and perhaps think about shopping around for some better insurance quotes.
By and large, fender benders and other minor car collisions are the most common form of insurance claims. Whether it was a genuine accident, road rage or negligence, minor collision accidents can cause you a scratch or two, but lead to major property damage in the form of a car’s body, chassis, grill, fender or window.
Fender benders are covered by liability car insurance, and in no-fault states, your own insurance will typically pick up the tab if you’ve been in a minor car accident. In fault states, if you’re considered to be the party with less fault, you’ll have to pay either a smaller percentage of the total damages or nothing, while the party at fault covers you. If you were at fault in a fault state that doesn’t do pure comparative fault claims, you’ll need collision coverage to pay for your car’s damages – or pay them out of pocket, if that’s financially viable versus paying a higher premium.
Whiplash and Back Injuries
Your spine is the next most common victim of a car accident besides your car itself. From neck damage to a slipped disk, the shock and sudden jerking movement of a car accident can very quickly cause serious damage to you, even causing temporary or permanent disability as a result of the accident.
Whether it’s a rock from an unsteady cliff, a heavy piece of fruit, or a negligent cyclist, windshield damage is another common claim. Windshields are meant to protect you from insects and strong winds – but they won’t stop a human body, animal or weighted projectile. If the damage wasn’t your fault, then your insurance will cover you for the damages with comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage covers damages occurring outside of car accidents, as long as they were outside your control.
Hitting the odd deer, cow or dog with a car at night is still a rather common occurrence, and in the case of a heavier mammal, the sheer weight can truly wreck your vehicle’s bumper, hood and windshield. As per the rules of insurance, if you’re in a rural area, your cost for collision coverage is higher because of the chances of running (or rather, driving) into a wild animal.
As covered above, the more prone an area is to car theft and related crimes, the higher the premiums – specifically in policies covering comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage includes car theft. You don’t have to pay that much more if you’re in a theft-prone area, however, as long as you undergo all the proper precautions. GPS tracking software, installing anti-theft systems, and availing of other tricks and gadgetry to prevent the theft of your vehicle can all be taken into consideration by insurance companies to lower your premiums.
Remember, to an insurance company, it’s not about squeezing as much money as possible out of you – they want to reduce the likelihood of having to cover you for an accident. So everything you do to ensure you don’t get in trouble means paying less on a monthly basis – if you address them on it.
Whether it’s rowdy teens or vengeful exes, auto vandalism is another serious problem faced by drivers today. From the occasional smiley and gang sign to more elaborate constructions of art, to plain defacement and libel, all vandalism claims count as comprehensive coverage – if you don’t have it, you’ll have to clean your car up out of your own pocket.
And that’s it! These are some of the simplest and most common car insurance claims to watch out for. If you’re worried about these, then getting out there and finding the best auto insurance quotes from comparison providers like CoverHound before talking to your insurance provider about discounts and more coverage options is your best bet at saving some money and getting a better deal.