Six million car crashes occur every year in the U.S. Out of these crashes, six percent result in a fatality and 27% result in injury.
In addition to accidents, drivers file common car insurance claims for weather damage, vandalism, and car theft. Roadside assistance claims can also affect your car insurance premiums if used too much.
With so many claims being filed in the U.S. each year, what steps can you take to avoid the five most common car insurance claims? Read on to find out.
How to Avoid Car Accident Claims
A car accident is the most common reason for filing a car insurance claim. This includes collisions with other vehicles and inanimate objects, people, and animals.
Ways to avoid a car accident and the resulting claim include:
- Remaining aware of all your surroundings, including other vehicles and objects, by using your car mirrors when maneuvering
- Watching for pedestrians and pets while driving, and slowing down when approaching intersections or crosswalks
- Using your horn to make other drivers and pedestrians aware of your presence
- Doing a quick walk around your vehicle before backing into an area, especially in places where children are present
- Paying attention to road signs that warn of the presence of pedestrians, children, or animals in an area, and adjusting your speed accordingly
- Always using your headlights and signals to make other drivers and pedestrians aware of your vehicle, especially at night
- Following all established road laws, including posted speed limits, stop signs, yield signs, and other road signs
How to Avoid Cracked Windshield Claims
A cracked windshield can happen for a variety of reasons, ranging from an accident to rocks or other objects being thrown up by vehicles on the road.
To avoid a chipped or broken windshield while driving, make sure to follow at a safe distance behind other vehicles, especially trucks carrying loose objects such as gravel. When you’re traveling on a loosely surfaced or debris-filled roadway, drive slowly to avoid damaging your car and any vehicles behind you.
How to Avoid Weather Damage Claims
If you live in areas prone to bad weather, such as hail and strong winds, your car could be damaged by the elements, causing you to file a claim. Sometimes inclement weather can even cause a total loss of a vehicle, with hail being one of the leading contributors.
To avoid damage from severe weather events and the resulting claims, park your car under a cover or in a garage. When you’re driving in inclement weather and suffering from low visibility, you should slow down or pull off the road completely. Always remember to pull over as far as possible to the right, and turn on your hazard lights to notify other drivers of your vehicle’s presence.
How to Avoid Car Vandalism and Theft Claims
Car vandalism includes broken windows, graffiti, and other damage to the body of your car. Increased instances of car vandalism or theft in an area can cause your insurance premiums to rise.
Short of moving to a safer area, your options for avoiding vandalism or theft include parking your car in a garage, installing a car alarm, or parking in a highly visible area. In addition, make sure to lock your car and place all personal items where would-be thieves can’t easily see them, such as the trunk or glovebox.
How to Avoid Roadside Assistance Claims
Many car insurance companies offer some sort of roadside assistance as part of your policy. While this comes in handy when your vehicle breaks down, filing too many claims can result in higher premiums down the road. Car insurers report roadside assistance claims to a shared database called CLUE, or the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange.
While using roadside assistance too often shouldn’t affect your current coverage, it can make it harder to find coverage if you decide to switch insurance companies for up to three years. Try to minimize the use of roadside assistance if possible.
While you can’t avoid all common car insurance claims, you can take some precautions to reduce your risk and keep your premiums low.