insurance-coverYou likely have car insurance because it is required to drive legally in most states. But like many of our readers, you may not know exactly how your coverage helps pay for damage to your vehicle. Here we answer common questions about which types of car insurance are needed to cover you in specific situations.

Will Insurance Pay if I Hit a Deer?

Yes, if you have comprehensive insurance, which is optional. Comprehensive coverage pays for vehicle damage if you hit a deer or other animal. It pays up to the cash value of your car, minus your deductible.

The car’s value, your driving record, the deductible you choose and repair costs determine the cost of comprehensive coverage, but it’s usually very affordable. The average annual cost nationwide for comprehensive coverage is just $192, according to a rate analysis by Typically, comprehensive claims won’t hike your rates, but our data show that if you do see an increase, it is just about 3%, or $40 a year.

What Insurance Covers a Cracked Windshield?

Comprehensive insurance also covers glass damage, so like animal strikes, you can only file a claim to fix your windshield if you carry this optional coverage. Full glass coverage may be available in some states as part of your comprehensive coverage or in addition to it, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). With full glass coverage, you may not have to pay a deductible for the windshield’s repair.

What Happens if you’re in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?

If you have uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, it will pay for your medical bills if you’re hit by an uninsured driver. In some states, you can also obtain uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) that will pay for damage to your vehicle. However, typically, UMPD coverage has low limits so if you have collision coverage, it is advised that you carry that and skip UMPD unless you’re required by law to have it on your policy. Some states require drivers to buy uninsured motorist coverage and in others it is optional.

Uninsured motorist insurance is usually sold in the amount that matches your liability insurance limits. (Liability insurance pays for damage you cause to other vehicles and property.) For example, if you bought a policy with $50,000 per person bodily injury liability coverage, up to $100,000 per accident, you should buy uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI) in the same amounts.

Am I Covered if I Hit Another Car?

If you hit another car, and it’s your fault, your liability insurance  (the portion for property damage) pays for the damage to the other car or property.  (Liability insurance would also pay for injuries you cause, under the bodily injury portion, unless you live in a no-fault state, in which case each individual’s personal injury protection policy would pay out.)

Liability insurance costs, on average, $564 yearly, for the following limits: (50/100/50), or $50,000 per person/$100,000 maximum per accident for bodily injury; $50,000 for property damage. For full coverage, including comprehensive and collision, it costs an average of $1,355.

Liability insurance does not pay for damage to your own vehicle. If you hit another vehicle and your car is damaged, you must have collision insurance to file a claim to help pay to fix it.  According to a rate analysis, the average rate for collision coverage is $526 per year, for a full coverage policy with a $500 deductible. How much car insurance goes up after an accident depends on your driving record, your insurance company and other factors, but data analysis shows an average increase of about 32%.

What Insurance Covers me if Another Car Hits Mine?

If you’re in an accident that another driver caused, the other driver’s liability insurance would pay for damage to your vehicle and for your medical expenses if you make a claim under the at-fault driver’s liability coverages.  You can also use your own collision coverage for the damage to your car, however, you would then have to pay the associated deductible. Also, if you are in a no-fault state, your injuries would be claimed under your personal injury protection coverage.

Is Hitting a Parked Car Considered an Accident? I Hit a Parked Car, now What?

Yes, hitting a parked car is an accident. You should report the incident to your insurance company and leave a note with your name and phone number if you leave before the other driver arrives.

If you hit a parked car, your liability property damage insurance would pay for the damage you caused. Collision coverage would pay for the damage to your car, if you carry this optional coverage.

Will My Insurance Cover Me if I Hit a Pole?

You must have collision coverage, which is optional, to file a claim for repairs to your car if you hit a pole, or other object, such as a fence, pothole or barrier.

Is Hail Damage Covered Under Car Insurance?

Hail damage to your car is covered under comprehensive insurance.  You must have the optional coverage before your vehicle sustains any damage.

What Does Insurance Cover if your Car is Stolen?

Comprehensive insurance pays out up to the actual cash value of your car, minus your deductible, if your car is stolen. Actual cash value isn’t what you paid for your car. It’s your vehicle’s worth at the time of the theft.

My Friend got into an Accident with My Car, am I Covered?

Yes, if you have insurance on your vehicle and allow a friend to drive it, damage from an accident would normally be covered under your policy. However, before loaning out your vehicle make certain your car insurance policy extends coverage to permissive drivers.  There are some cheap policies that come with certain restrictions, such as only covering named drivers (meaning those listed on the policy).

I Hit My Spouse’s Car in the Driveway, will My Insurance Cover it?

 Yes, if you both have collision coverage you can make each make a claim for the damages to each vehicle.  Unless your insurer waives a deductible, you would own two, one for each car. Your auto insurance liability coverage does not cover damage done by members of your own household, such as one car striking another, so it could not be used. In this type of situation, unless the damage was severe, it would likely be better to not inform your insurer and pay out of pocket for the repairs for each vehicle. That saves you dual deductibles and a potential rate hike for two claims.