Common car insurance claims and how to cover them

Car insurance covers more than accidents. But different types of coverage offer different forms of protection.
Written by Michelle Ballestrasse
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Accidents make up the majority of insurance claims, but there are other instances where drivers might file a claim. For example, insurance companies can also provide coverage in cases of
, and even natural disasters. Knowing how your coverage options work and what claims they cover is the key to protecting yourself, and your car, in the event of an emergency.
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A fender-bender refers to a slow-speed collision in which either one or two parties are moving. These frequently happen in parking lots, especially when both parties are backing out at the same time. Fender-benders also include cases in which a moving vehicle hits a parked one.
In rear-end fender-benders, there is no question or investigation to determine fault. In fault states, the driver of the car that collided into the back of the car in front of it is always at fault. It’s also common for the other party to follow up with a whiplash claim, which can be costly.
Liability insurance
will cover you in fender-bender accidents, except in
no-fault states
, even when there’s injury.
Collision insurance
will cover cosmetic repairs to your vehicle from fender-benders.

High-speed collisions

High-speed collisions occur anywhere that vehicles tend to travel at a high speed, such as freeways and expressways. These types of collisions don’t always result from reckless driving, but it can be a contributing factor.
High-speed collisions are usually caused when one or more drivers lose control of their vehicle while driving fast. They can involve multiple cars, especially during periods of heavier traffic. High-speed collisions often have a higher chance of injuries and fatalities to all involved.
If you’re found to be at fault for the accident, your insurance will be held financially responsible for damage and injuries incurred to all parties involved.
Liability insurance will cover these (up to your policy limit) if you are at fault, while collision insurance will cover damage incurred to your own car (also up to your policy limit), regardless if you are at fault or not.

Intersection collisions

Intersection collisions can occur at either low or high speeds, but they are usually caused by failure to adhere to traffic signals, like stop signs or red lights.
Major intersections often have traffic cameras that can determine who is at fault. But at smaller intersections, particularly in residential areas, it’s important to find a witness and exchange information, if you can.
Regardless of whether you’re at fault, if you have the applicable coverages, liability insurance will cover damage and/or injuries to other drivers, and collision coverage will handle damage to your car.

Single-car crashes

Single-car crashes occur between a moving car and an object, like a tree, pole, or animal. Colliding into a stationary object is often caused by
distracted driving
, although there are extraordinary circumstances that can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle.
If you hit a stationary object, like a pole or a barrier (and have the applicable coverages in place), collision coverage will take care of the damages. If you hit an animal,
comprehensive insurance
will cover the expenses.
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Chipped or cracked windscreens

Damage to windscreens is usually caused by loose debris on the roadway. Debris can either be kicked up by tires or fall out of moving trucks with open beds when their load isn’t fully covered or secured. This usually happens on freeways, where high speeds mean higher-velocity impacts.
Any chip, even a small one, has compromised the overall strength of your windscreen. A bump or sudden jolt can expand the chip into a crack that can’t be fixed. The good news is, chips can often be fixed with a specialty resin, and it is relatively inexpensive.
Comprehensive coverage may cover the cost of the repair, but if your deductible is higher than the cost of the fix, you’ll have to pay for it out of pocket.
Key Takeaway While many windshield repair companies claim your insurance may cover the cost of the repair, your deductible is still a factor. If you have a higher deductible, you’ll most likely be paying for the repair out of pocket.


Drivers are never at fault for the theft of their car, even if they left the keys in the ignition. That being said, your car may not be recovered. And if it is recovered, it will more than likely have suffered various degrees of damage.
If your car is stolen and you have comprehensive insurance, it will cover the cost of your
car repair
bill, or replacement if necessary (up to your policy limit).


Whether or not your car is a deliberate target for petty vandals, the damage incurred can be debilitating. What’s worse, if vandalism is common where you live, your insurance rates may be higher.
The most frequent acts of vandalism—deliberate or otherwise—are exterior damage (keyed paint),
slashed tires
, and broken windscreens or windows. Although finding suspects is almost impossible in these cases, you should file a police report if you’re the victim of vandalism.
In any case of vandalism, comprehensive coverage will take care of any repair work (if you have the applicable coverages).

Make sure you’re covered for the common and the uncommon

Of course, beyond this list, there are all sorts of other uncommon claims, such as inclement weather, animal collisions, and falling debris.
If you’ve got a question about your coverage, Jerry’s friendly agents are here to help. As an experienced brokerage,
can provide valuable advice on the coverage options that are right for you.
There are three basic types of coverage to consider for common insurance claims. All three can affect the cost of your premium, but each offers its own particular benefits. Full coverage means that you’ve opted for all three forms on your policy:
  • Liability insurance covers you when you are found to be at fault for an accident. Most states require you to have liability coverage in order to legally drive. Liability is further broken down into
    bodily injury liability
    property damage liability
  • Collision insurance covers any damage done to your car in an accident, whether you hit something or something hits you. Collision insurance only covers damage to your car and does not cover bodily injury.
  • Comprehensive insurance provides coverage for everything that liability insurance and comprehensive insurance do not. This includes unusual circumstances, like violent weather damage, civil disturbances, or petty vandalism.

Make sure you’re not overpaying for car insurance

You may be stressing about your
insurance going up after an accident
or other car-related incident. Some insurance companies will raise your rate for an at-fault accident. Others have been known to raise their rates for incidents that aren’t your fault.
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How do car insurance claims work?

Insurance claims start with you gathering all information pertaining to the incident, whether it’s an accident, act of vandalism, or act of nature, and presenting it to your insurance provider. If you’re in an accident involving another car, you and the other party’s insurance companies will handle the claim.
An adjuster will then arrange for your car to be inspected, or will inspect it themselves, to determine the cost of the damage. For your own car, you will have to pay a deductible before the insurance takes over.
Once the damage is evaluated and the deductible is paid, your adjuster will issue you a payment up to the remaining cost. You’ll sign a release and accept that payment as final.
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