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Will my insurer cover a road-rage fender-bender?


A

Question: Will my auto insurance company pay if I have a road rage incident and purposely bump into another car or throw something through another driver's window and break it? 

Answer: Not only will your auto insurance not pay for the damage, your auto insurer will probably raise your rates.

Auto insurance is there to cover accidents, which are basically defined as unexpected, unforeseen events that are not under the control of the insured.  Normally, car insurance policies specifically exclude intentional acts.

If your temper gets the best of you and you ram into another car, or even lightly bump another car, on purpose, then it’s not an accident and thus won’t be covered if the insurer finds that you purposely damaged the other car. The same holds true for throwing something through someone else’s car window – it’s not covered in any way by your auto insurance policy.  It's a deliberate act and didn't involve your vehicle, so there is no way that it would be covered by auto insurance.

If insurers covered damage from intentional acts, then many more people might decide to take out frustrations, knowing the damage is covered. 

Road rage can only end badly for you. If police are called, you could be charged for aggressive driving, reckless driving (the willful or wanton disregard for other people or property), assault or possibly even assault with a deadly weapon. It all depends upon what you’ve done and what state you are in.

The penalties vary by state but typically are pretty severe. For example, in California being charged with reckless driving can result in imprisonment of five to 90 days or a fine of between $145 and $1,000 or both.  If you caused injuries to others, jail time is increased to at least 30 days up to six months, and the fine is raised up to $220 to $1,000 (per California Vehicle Code 23103, 23104 and 23105). Add fees and these fines end up being between $600 and $2,000, plus you receive two points on your California driving record.

And that isn’t including how seriously auto insurance providers take such actions and violations. Being the aggressor in a road-rage incident will cause your car insurance rates to rise because you are now seen as a high risk to the insurer.  Your rates could go up 20 percent or more depending upon the rating system of your car insurance company.

Though your blood may be boiling, the smartest thing you can do is get as far away from the driver who offended you as you can.  There's no way to "win" an argument like this that isn't a felony.

Remembering that you will be held personally responsible for damages you cause (to your own car and others) may help curb your aggression. 

Your reward, ultimately, is auto insurance premiums that reflect your maturity on the road.

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