18 Things That Are Not Covered by Auto Insurance
Your auto policy will contain several exclusions, which means your insurer will not reimburse for losses caused by a listed exclusion. Filing a claim for an excluded loss will result in a denial and you will need to pay for those costs out-of-pocket. For additional coverage, you can look into policy endorsements, like roadside assistance, gap insurance and modified parts coverage.
Keep reading to learn 18 things your auto insurance will not cover.
1. Personal Property Inside Your Vehicle
Comprehensive coverage will cover your car, if stolen, but not any personal items left inside, such as electronics, sunglasses or other valuables. However, you can still file a claim under your homeowner's insurance or renters insurance policy to see if they will cover this loss.
2. Routine Repairs & Maintenance
Routine repair and general maintenance costs, like changing your oil and rotating your tires, will not be covered under car insurance. These are general expenses associated with car ownership that you will pay out-of-pocket.
3. Intentional Damages
Damages intentionally caused to your vehicle or another driver’s property will not be covered in an auto policy. Premeditating a car accident to profit from an insurance claim payout can be considered fraud and your insurer will likely cancel your policy. This can create a lapse in coverage and you may face legal and financial consequences.
4. Excluded Drivers in Your Policy
Drivers specifically excluded in your policy will not be covered if they get into an accident while driving your car. Insurers typically exclude individuals when they have a high-risk history. For example, a company may insure all family members on a single policy except the son with two DUI violations within the same year.
Keep in mind that drivers (not excluded in your policy) who drive your car with your permission may still be covered if your policy has a permissive use clause.
5. Losses That Exceed Your Policy Limits
Car insurance will pay only up to the limits you purchase. If you purchased $25,000 in liability insurance but and you’re liable for $30,000 in losses after a car accident, then you will be responsible for the remaining $5,000. Increasing your coverage limits will increase the cost of car insurance.
Another option is purchasing an umbrella policy. Umbrella policies will cover losses that exceed your auto policy limits. The advantage of purchasing an umbrella policy over increasing your policy limits is that a single umbrella policy can cover excess losses for both your home and car insurance policy. You may, however, be required to raise your car insurance limits first, depending on your insurer.
6. Mechanical Breakdowns
A typical auto insurance policy won’t cover mechanical issues unless they were caused by a covered peril. For example, say your car strikes a tree, causing your engine to stop running. If you purchased collision coverage, then your insurer may cover the cost of repairing your engine.
With mechanical breakdown insurance, you’re covered for the cost of repairs if your vehicle experiences a breakdown and requires replacement parts. Unlike collision coverage, mechanical breakdown coverage insures you against general failures — even if caused by wear and tear. This coverage will increase your auto insurance premium but can provide some peace of mind if your car is prone to breaking down.
7. Commercial Use
Personal use of your car is covered under auto insurance but not for commercial use. For example, say you own a general contracting business and use your car for personal and business use. Your personal auto policy will cover you for driving to the grocery store and the park, but not for transporting building materials, driving to client locations and other commercial activity.
Purchasing commercial auto insurance alongside personal auto insurance will help ensure your car is insured whenever you’re driving.
8. Rental Car Reimbursement
If your car is undergoing repairs after a covered accident or you’re shopping for a new car because your car was totaled, you may need to rent a car in the meantime. Auto insurance will not cover the cost of a rental car unless you purchase rental car reimbursement. Rental car reimbursement will pay for your rental car expenses up to the policy limit for a certain number of days.
9. Pet Injuries
Your pet’s injuries may be covered if you have collision coverage but it can vary by company. Ask your insurance agent if pet injury costs, like emergency and veterinarian bills, will be covered. Otherwise, you may want to shop around with a different insurance provider or purchase pet insurance.
10. Driving an Unlisted Car
Your auto insurance policy will only cover the cars listed in your policy. If you did not add your new car to your auto policy because you honestly forgot or intentionally refrained to avoid a higher premium, then that car will not be covered for any losses.
If you’re driving another person’s insured vehicle with their permission, then you are typically covered under the other driver’s permissive use clause in their auto policy. Claims should be filed with their auto insurance company.
11. Added Accessories
Modifications and upgrades to your car may not be covered by auto insurance if they are damaged in an accident. If you want coverage for your car modifications, ask your insurance agent about supplemental coverage or custom parts and equipment insurance. If your car is damaged in a covered accident, this coverage can pay for the value of aftermarket and custom parts to your vehicle.
12. Rideshare & Delivery
Driving for a rideshare company, like Uber and Lyft, can be useful for generating income but any losses incurred while transporting passengers or delivering orders will not be covered by your auto policy. This is considered commercial activity, which is an excluded coverage in personal auto insurance.
Fortunately, Uber and Lyft provide some coverage for their drivers while the app is activated. However, this coverage is usually only liability insurance, so you may want to research rideshare insurance if you want more complete coverage while driving around.
Accidents that occur while racing or performing stunts are excluded from coverage in auto insurance. Since racing is a high-risk event, you should look into motorsport event insurance to ensure you have coverage.
14. Some Natural Disasters
Auto insurance policies often include act-of-god exclusions that will omit coverage for unpredictable events, like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and other natural calamities. However, some weather-related damages, like hail, may be covered if you have comprehensive insurance. Ask your insurance agent exactly which weather-related events your comprehensive protection will cover to avoid surprise claim denials down the road.
Auto insurance may cover some types of off-roading but it will depend on your company. Since auto insurance coverage can be situational, you should consult your insurance agent if you regularly use your personal car for off-roading excursions. If you have roadside assistance, the cost to extract your vehicle if stuck near a main road is usually covered.
However, accidents that occur as a result of high-risk driving specific to off-roading may not be covered. For example, a single-car rollover accident that occurred while racing through large dunes will likely be excluded from coverage.
16. Towing And Jumpstarts
Towing services and jumpstarts will not be covered with standard auto insurance but you can add this coverage by purchasing roadside assistance. On top of tows and jumpstarts, roadside assistance may also cover winching, locksmith and fuel delivery services.
Purchasing roadside assistance as a policy endorsement can start as low as $8 per year. Standalone roadside plans that require an annual membership, like AAA, can include other benefits but usually at a considerably higher cost.
17. Punitive Damages
If you are sued by the victim party in an accident you caused, the liability portion in your auto policy will cover the victim party’s losses and your legal expenses. However, this coverage may not extend to punitive damages, which is additional compensation on top of the cost of the victim’s losses — usually incurred for especially heinous crimes.
For example, a judge may require you to pay for the other driver’s car repairs and medical bills but may also require you to pay additional compensation in punitive damages because you were driving while intoxicated and caused severe injury to the other driver.
18. Remaining Balance On Your Car Loan
If your car is totaled in a covered accident, auto insurance will typically pay you your car’s value after depreciation, up to the policy limits. If your car’s worth is less than the outstanding balance on your car’s loan, auto insurance will not cover the difference. That means you would still be making loan payments on a car you can no longer drive.
Only gap insurance, an auto policy endorsement, will pay the difference between your auto policy’s limits and the remaining balance on your car loan.
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