9 surprising things car insurance covers

What your auto insurance policy covers may surprise you. (iStock)

It’s sometimes difficult to see the value in car insurance. It’s the kind of expense you hope you’ll never use, but when you’re in an accident or your car is vandalized, your policy can protect you from paying for costly repairs out-of-pocket.

It’s important to understand not all auto insurance policies are the same and coverage will vary from one state to the next. But there are nine surprising events that you probably don’t know that come standard on your auto insurance policy, and a few that don’t. If you have any concerns about insurance coverage, make sure you visit the multi-lender site Credible to view all of your car insurance options.

Surprising things your car insurance covers

Most people never read the small print on their car insurance policy. If they did, they might be surprised to learn some of the unexpected events that are covered.

  1. Rodent damage. Chewed wiring, ripped seats, or other damage to your car’s exterior and interior by mice or squirrels is covered under most auto insurance policies. It can cost thousands to repair the damage, so knowing your auto insurance comes through in a clutch is a relief. 
  2. Car rental reimbursement. If your auto insurance policy has three types of coverage — collision, liability and comprehensive — you’re covered when renting a car in the case of an accident. 
  3. Lost wages due to an accident. If you’re injured in an accident, your auto policy will cover you for lost wages if you can’t work. Although liability insurance has limits, if you can no longer perform your duties at work, you are entitled to lost wages for life. 
  4. Pedestrian incidents. If you’re walking down the sidewalk and you’re struck by an uninsured motorist, you can file an uninsured motorist claim, and any injuries will be covered by your insurance. This also includes any family members living in the same household.
  5. Meteors. Damage from falling objects — including a meteor — is covered under the liability portion of your comprehensive car insurance if it causes you to have an accident.
  6. Detailing. If your car is stolen or vandalized and now has stains on the seats from food, cigarettes, or other substance, most insurance policies will cover the cost to have it detailed.  
  7. Potholes. Even though running into a pothole is considered an at-fault accident, the repairs to your car will be covered under the collision portion of your policy. 
  8. Earthquakes. Because natural disasters, like earthquakes, are considered "acts of God," any damage to your vehicle is not your responsibility and covered under the comprehensive portion of your auto policy. 
  9. Wild animals. If you run into a deer or a bear decides to break into your car for that sandwich you left on the dashboard, your insurance company will likely cover any damage under your comprehensive coverage. 

It's important to compare several auto insurance companies, as well as their coverages, before signing up for a policy. Credible’s car insurance marketplace can help with this process.


Surprising events your insurance might cover

  1. Pet injury coverage. Some but not all policies cover injuries to your pet if hurt in an accident. 
  2. If you’re scammed. If you sell your car to a private buyer and the check bounces, some sympathetic insurance companies may consider it theft and cover the money you’re out.  
  3. Fill your tank with the wrong fuel. It happens. When it does, you should check with your insurance company to see if you're covered for the damage the wrong fuel did to your car.

To get the best car insurance rate, you’ll want to shop around and compare quotes from multiple providers on Credible. Don’t get surprised by an event your insurance doesn’t cover.


Surprising things your car insurance doesn't cover

Most car insurance goes the distance to cover many surprising events. But there are some things your insurance probably doesn’t cover.

  1. Personal items left inside your vehicle. Comprehensive coverage covers vandalism, but it doesn’t cover that laptop left inside your car.
  2. A person living with you but not listed on your policy. If your 12-year-old isn’t listed on your auto policy but decides to take your car for a joy ride, most insurance policies will not cover the damage or personal liability in case of an accident. 
  3. Custom equipment and parts. If your car is damaged in an accident or stolen and vandalized, your policy will likely not cover any custom parts added to your vehicle. 
  4. Making deliveries. If you deliver pizzas as a side hustle, you might not be covered under your standard insurance policy. 


What do most basic auto insurance policies cover?

Individual states mandate different types of auto insurance. Plus, there are several other options, like gap insurance, that many companies also provide.

Most basic auto insurance policies cover these events, no matter where you live:

  • Collision
  • Property damage liability
  • Bodily injury liability 
  • Personal injury protection
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorist

Make sure you're covered and explore pricing to find the right auto insurance plan that fits your needs on Credible.