D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Just the Basics

  • Standard liability car insurance does not cover accidental damage
  • Adding comprehensive insurance to your policy adds coverage for accidental damage and repairs

  • Comprehensive insurance covers accidental damage costs from weather events, theft, vandalism, falling objects repair, and fire 

Is accidental damage covered by car insurance? Accidental damage is not covered in a standard liability car insurance policy. To file a claim for accidental damage, you have to add comprehensive insurance coverage to your car insurance policy.

It’s important to understand the different types of car insurance coverage. What does auto insurance not cover? 

Learn more about what accidental damage is and what is covered when you add comprehensive coverage to your car insurance policy. 

Enter your ZIP code into our free comparison tool above to find the best accidental damage car insurance rates in your area.

What is accidental damage?

These events are all considered accidental damage if they damage your car: 

  • Vandalism
  • Hitting an animal in the road
  • A tree, some of its limbs or rocks falling onto your car
  • Fire
  • Weather events like hail

The Insurance Information Institute (iii) says comprehensive insurance coverage will cover damage to a vehicle caused by snowstorms, heavy wind, fallen ice, or fallen tree limbs.

Not having comprehensive insurance coverage on your policy means being liable for the cost of repairs for any accidental damages.

Living in an area where a car is more likely to be vandalized or stolen, or living where strong weather events are more common might make adding comprehensive coverage to cover accidental damage costs a smart choice. 

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What is recommended for car insurance coverage? 

The basic car insurance you must carry in every state except Virginia and New Hampshire is called liability insurance. There are two types of liability insurance:

Recommended car insurance coverage includes optional add-ons such as collision, comprehensive, or full coverage insurance. Adding comprehensive insurance coverage ensures accidental damages will be covered. 

  • Comprehensive insurance coverage is just as its name implies, it covers comprehensive damage to your car whether it’s been stolen or has accidental damage caused by something other than a collision. 
  • Collision insurance coverage pays for damages to your car if it has been in a collision or an accident. It doesn’t matter which driver is at fault. 
  • Full coverage insurance usually refers to having liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage. It covers costs for your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicles plus property damage and bodily injury costs. 

Both comprehensive insurance coverage and collision insurance coverage have deductibles that must be met prior to the insurance company paying for the remainder of the repairs. The deductible amount depends on what dollar amount you chose when buying your comprehensive coverage. 

The deductible amount could be $500, $1000, or $1500. Higher deductibles usually mean lower annual premiums and choosing a lower deductible usually means the policy premiums will be higher. Either way, you will be responsible for paying whatever the deductible amount is in the event of accidental damage. 

What does car insurance not cover? 

Auto insurance does not cover personal belongings stolen from your car, or normal wear and tear maintenance costs on your vehicle.

Car insurance will not cover custom parts or equipment installed in your car after purchase, such as high-end stereos or wheels. 

Car insurance also will not cover things known as “Acts of God.” These include earthquakes and hurricanes.

Car insurance will not cover mechanical breakdowns such as engine failure or a transmission breakdown. 

If you had an accident while driving your car for a rideshare service or a delivery service, your car insurance would not cover it. You would need either rideshare insurance coverage or delivery insurance coverage if you used your car while working for those services. 

Is there anything else auto insurance will not cover?

Car insurance will not cover past the liability limits of your policy. Liability coverage in a car insurance policy is usually written as three numbers. If it is written as 100/200/50, it means you have: 

  • $100,000 coverage for bodily injury to each person in an accident
  • $200,000 for bodily injury per accident 
  • $50,000 for property damage per accident

If the liability costs exceed the three numbers expressed in your liability insurance coverage, you will be on the hook for the additional expenses. 

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Should I assess the damage before filing a claim?

When your car has received accidental damage, if you have comprehensive insurance coverage, the accidental damage will be covered. Assess how much damage you have and think about your deductible amount.

If the cost of damage repair will exceed your deductible amount, it can make sense to file a claim. If it is minor damage and the cost to repair it will be lower than your deductible amount, you may consider holding off on a claim. The more claims you file can raise your car insurance rates over time.  

Who needs accidental damage car insurance coverage?

Accidental damage can happen at any time, whether you are prepared for it or not. Adding comprehensive insurance coverage to your car insurance policy means not having to worry when those events happen. They will be covered minus the cost of your deductible.  

You can buy accidental damage car insurance and add it to your existing auto insurance policy. Shop around and compare quotes from multiple companies to find the best deal for you.

Enter your zip code now to compare quotes for affordable accidental damage car insurance coverage.