Because auto insurance companies use your claims records to determine your annual rates, keeping the count down is in your best interest. Regardless of how small the claim may be, your insurer has his eye on you. String a few together in a relatively short period of time and you could be looking at a whopper of an increase to your premium.
You can argue that you’ve had no moving violations in ten years, and that may be true, but you’re costing your auto insurance company money and that’s never a good thing – simply because they’ll get their money back by jacking up your premiums.
According to 2012 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, 12 million auto accidents occur each year. While the majority of those are categorized as “fender benders”, resulting in relatively minor damage and rarely in major injuries, 42,000 people still die each year in serious crashes, of which, almost half are due to drunk drivers.
Depending on where you live, the average driver can expect to be involved in an accident about once every six years. Conversely, you may be one of those lucky drivers who have gone virtually your entire life without having an auto accident. But, you’re a rare breed and the rest of us can only regard you with envy.
Knowing what coverage you need to protect your vehicle can be helpful. Below are 10 of the more common auto insurance claims you’ve probably filed:
1. Rear-end crash
No matter the cause, this type of collision will always be your fault. As the driver in the rear, it’s your responsibility to control your vehicle and stop, if needed. You can often expect a whiplash claim by the driver you hit to follow. If you have collision insurance, you’re covered.
2. Chipped or cracked windshield
You can be driving innocently along and a truck up ahead sends a rock flying at your windshield cracking it. The replacement is covered by your comprehensive insurance, but a deductible will apply.
3. Damage to a parked vehicle
This can involve a number of scenarios – from a ding caused by an opening car door to a parked car being hit by another driver. Either way, the claim will be paid under your collision coverage, whether it’s your fault or not. If the damage is due to a hit-and-run, the repairs may be covered under your uninsured motorist coverage.
4. Backing up accident
This type of accident is common, especially if two drivers are backing out of opposite parking spots at the same time. It also occurs when a vehicle drives down a parking isle and the other driver backs out without looking. In some cases, who’s at fault is not cut and dry, and an investigation may be needed to establish which insurance company will pay. The good news is – you’re covered by your collision insurance.
Your vehicle can be broken into, spray painted, and keyed. All three fall under your comprehensive coverage, but you’ll still have to pay the deductible.
6. Hail damage
While you may not have to worry about hail stones where you live, take a road trip to Texas or other areas in the country prone to hail the size of golf balls, and you’ll be glad you’ve got comprehensive coverage. Even more so, if your ride is deemed a total loss by your insurer.
7. Single-car crash
These crashes can involve colliding with a tree, road sign, pole or simply losing control, running off the road and rolling over. Unless it’s the result of a mechanical failure, you’re at fault. But, your collision coverage will pay for the damage.
8. Crash at an intersection
Failing to yield right-of-way, running a stop sign or red light are the main causes of these types of crashes. At high speed, such an accident can be fatal.
9. Theft of vehicle
Your vehicle can be stolen for a number of reasons. It can be used in the commission of other crimes, including a drive-by, bank robbery, drug trafficking or just to be chopped and sold for parts. Should it not be recovered, you will be paid the replacement value under your comprehensive coverage, minus the deductible.
10. Multi-car crash
Multi-car pileups can occur when a driver fails to stop and rear ends another vehicle on a congested freeway, shoving them into the next vehicle. While fairly common, establishing liability is not always easy and may take time to determine responsibility for the claim. Having collision coverage can save the day.
When was the last time you filed one of these claims with your insurance company? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.