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8 Things Your Car Insurance Probably Doesn’t Cover

A young woman calls for road service while looking under the hood of her car.

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Chances are your car insurance doesn’t cover what you think it does.

Key points

  • If a driver has made any customizations or modifications to their car, their car insurance policy may not cover them.
  • If a driver plans on doing any off-road driving in their vehicle, their insurance policy may not cover them.
  • It’s important to know what isn’t covered, so drivers can determine their liability.

You’re driving along and you get into a fender bender. You have car insurance, so the repairs will be covered. Right? It turns out, however, that there are a lot of things that a driver’s car insurance probably doesn’t cover. Here are eight of the most common things the typical auto insurance company doesn’t cover.

1. Wear and tear

Most car insurance policies don’t cover wear and tear, which is defined as the gradual deterioration of your vehicle due to normal use. So, if a driver gets a flat tire or their brakes start squealing, they’re probably on their own to pay for repairs.

2. Mechanical breakdowns

If a driver’s “check engine” light comes on or their transmission starts slipping, drivers shouldn’t expect their auto insurance company to foot the bill. These types of problems are typically considered mechanical breakdowns, which are not covered by most policies.

3. Aftermarket parts

If a driver has upgraded their stereo system or installed custom rims, they shouldn’t count on their insurance policy to cover the cost of replacement or repair. Most policies only cover factory-installed parts.

4. Racing or off-roading

Most auto insurance companies will require additional policies if a driver plans on racing or using their car for high-risk off-roading excursions. If drivers plan on doing any off-roading in their vehicle, they should be aware that their insurance policy may not cover them. Again, it’s best for drivers to check with their insurer beforehand.

5. Certain natural disasters

Depending on the auto insurance policy, certain acts-of-god such as hail, hurricanes, and tornadoes may not be covered. Comprehensive coverage may cover some of it, but some insurers have strict limits on how much they’ll pay. If a driver lives in an area that’s prone to certain natural disasters, they will want to clarify with their auto insurer what is covered and what is not.

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6. Theft

Auto insurance typically does not cover personal property stolen from a driver’s vehicle. Insurers generally cover only components that are permanent features of the car. Renters or homeowners policies may cover them, however, so before a driver stores valuables in their car they should make sure they are properly covered.

7. Rideshare and delivery

Trying to make some side income by delivering food or transporting people? Since this is considered commercial activity, any accidents will not be covered by typical auto insurance policies. Rideshare and delivery drivers will need to get a separate auto insurance policy in order to be covered.

8. Accidents caused by uninsured motorists

If a driver gets hit by an uninsured motorist (i.e., someone who doesn’t have car insurance), they may be out of luck. Most states require drivers to carry liability insurance, but unfortunately not all drivers follow the law. If an insured driver is involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, chances are good that their own insurance company will end up footing the bill for repairs and they will likely see a rate increase as a result. For drivers to protect themselves, they should consider purchasing uninsured motorist coverage as part of their policy. Auto insurance companies may also offer underinsured coverage, which will pay for any damages above and beyond what another driver’s policy covers.

Have you ever been in an accident and had to rely on your car insurance policy to cover the cost of repairs? If so, then you know just how important it is to have good coverage. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that standard car insurance policies don’t cover. So before a driver ends up in a situation where they’re stuck with a hefty repair bill, they should take some time to familiarize themselves with what’s NOT covered by most policies. And if there’s something in particular that’s important to the driver, they should make sure to purchase additional coverage accordingly in order to protect one of the most expensive purchases most people will make in their life. Because at the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to insurance!

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