Car insurance typically does not cover rust damage. Rust almost always results from normal wear and tear, which is generally not included in standard insurance policies.
But in some rare circumstances, your insurance may cover rust damage if it is the result of documented environmental damage or faulty repairs.
Car insuranceis designed to cover unexpected events, and unfortunately, rust is considered an expected occurrence in your car’s lifetime.
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For everything you need to know about rust and your insurance policy, read on.
Does car insurance cover rust?
Most likely not. Since rust damage is considered wear and tear, it is hard to prove to your insurer that it should be covered under your car insurance plan.
That being said, if you think you can prove that something external—and beyond what is expected—caused the rust to your vehicle, it might be worth it to speak with your insurer.
Circumstances where rust damage may be covered
Though it’s unlikely for your insurer to cover rust damage, it’s not impossible.
Here are some circumstances where your rust damage may be covered by your insurance policy.
You have comprehensive insurance
If you have
comprehensive insurance, it’s possible that rust damage to your car might be covered—but not the normal "wear and tear" type of rust damage.
Comprehensive insurance covers your vehicle when it sustains damage in incidents that don’t involve another vehicle or a fixed object.
If your car is damaged by flooding or hurricane wind and rain, for example, any rust damage may be covered under your policy.
Ultimately, it’s up to your insurer to determine whether your claim passes muster. Read your comprehensive agreement closely to see if rust damage is covered and under what circumstances.
Your car is under warranty
If your car has rust damage and it’s still relatively new, check whether your warranty is still valid.
If it is, go through your warranty with a fine-tooth comb to determine whether it might cover rust damage. To be blunt, it’s possible but highly unlikely that the warranty covers rust.
As previously mentioned, rust is considered normal wear and tear. Dealers time warranty policies to avoid dealing with issues that are expected to crop up slowly over time, rust being a prime example.
You have mechanical breakdown insurance
Mechanical breakdown insurance, or MBI, is intended to protect you in case of corrosion- and maintenance-related issues with your car.
If you hold an MBI and can prove and document that your car’s rust damage is the result of a corrosive agent or stems from a maintenance issue, your insurer may cover it. Still, this is a long shot.
Key Takeaway Most rust damage is not covered by insurance, but if you have comprehensive insurance, mechanical breakdown insurance, or your car is still under warranty, it’s worth asking about.
How to prevent rust
Ultimately, you may be out of luck if you’re hoping to get run-of-the-mill rust damage covered by your insurer. But there are several proactive steps you can take to prevent rust buildup on your car.
Know your climate
Rust is more of a problem in areas prone to heavy rain and humidity. Living in a hurricane zone or area known to flood puts your car in danger of developing rust faster than normal.
If possible, try to park your car indoors to protect it from the worst of your area’s moisture issues.
Wash your car
While you don’t want your car inundated with water, it’s important to give your vehicle a
good wash now and then.
It is best to wash your car every three months or so. Washing your car protects its paint job, which is actually your best defense against rust damage. Give the underbelly of your car a good rinse, as rust can develop there as well.
Protect your paint job
While washing your car helps protect its paint job, chips can appear. Since your paint job is vital to preventing rust buildup, take care of any chipping issues as soon as possible.
If you’re able, you can touch up chips in your car’s paint yourself. If the job is bigger than something you can handle on your own, take your car to a reputable professional to repair the paint damage.
Opt for an aluminum-based car
Aluminum-based cars are far less prone to rusting than traditional steel-based cars.
Aluminum-based cars are also known to have better fuel economy, and your tires will last longer on this type of car.
But maintaining aluminum cars can be expensive, and they can be costly to repair.
Frequently asked questions
Why don’t insurers normally cover rust damage?
Insurers are in the business of covering significant, unexpected incidents. Rust damage is simply considered a normal part of a car’s aging process and is typically covered, except under exceptional circumstances.
Is rust covered under warranty?
No, a standard warranty probably won't cover rust. There is a chance that it is covered, however.
If the damage occurred within your warranty’s term and you’ve documented the rust’s progression, your dealer may cover it. Generally speaking, though, warranties are timed to ensure that any normal wear and tear (such as rust) isn’t covered.
If rust is a concern of yours, you can get a Corrosion Warranty, which will cover naturally-occurring rust for a certain amount of years or mileage.
Car insurance covers (almost) every eventuality
While good car insurance protects you in almost any circumstance, rust damage usually isn’t covered.
Still, it is important to protect yourself without breaking the bank.
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