Car insurance frequently asked questions
Last updated: March 2023
A car insurance policy may help protect you and your vehicle in many scenarios, depending on the coverages you select. Sometimes you may have questions about your coverage before an event occurs — like, "I'm going to rent a car, do I need extra insurance?" But, more often, questions may come up after a mishap — , "I hit a deer. Am I covered?"
Either way, it can help to read up on some common car insurance coverage questions now, so you can be armed with knowledge for either type of scenario in the future.
I'm going to _______. Is it covered?
Pull a parade float.
As long as you are doing it as a volunteer and are not being paid, insurance will typically offer protection. In the event that something occurs, make sure you know how your insurance may help protect you.
Rent a car.
A personal auto insurance policy typically extends to a rental car as long as you're in the United States. If you pay for a rental car with certain credit cards, you may find they offer free insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). However, it's important to review your insurance coverage to make sure you have the appropriate coverages in place before saying no to that extra insurance offered by the rental company.
Typically, your own auto insurance will not cover you abroad. Every country has its own requirements. Before traveling you may want to contact your destination's U.S. embassy to learn of any rental car insurance requirements.
You may have to purchase the optional collision damage waiver coverage from the rental company if you are renting a truck. Your collision and comprehensive coverage likely will not transfer to a non-owned moving van, only to a private passenger vehicle, according to the III.
The NAIC explains that personal auto insurance may not cover you if you use your car for business purposes. There may be gaps in what your personal car insurance covers and what the ride-sharing company's insurance covers. Some personal auto insurers do offer optional coverage, however, to help fill those gaps.
Does car insurance cover...
Typically, the answer is yes, if you have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage may help pay to repair dents in your car, broken windshields and even interior water damage caused by hail.
Generally, collision coverage may help pay for damage to your vehicle caused by hitting a pothole, but car insurance policies typically do not cover normal wear and tear to tires due to potholes.
Your insurance may be able to help if you have comprehensive coverage or comprehensive with full glass. These coverages may help pay for the costs of repairing or replacing your windshield.
If you have comprehensive coverage, insurance may help pay to repair or replace your vehicle, as long the damage doesn't exceed your car's worth.
Typically, damage to your vehicle after hitting a deer is considered a covered loss under comprehensive coverage.
If a squirrel chews on your car's wiring, comprehensive coverage may help pay for repairs.
Auto insurance may help protect you if you've been hurt or your car has been damaged in a hit-and-run. Collision coverage may help pay for car repairs after a hit-and-run. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and medical payments coverage may help cover your medical bills after a hit-and-run.
Typically, comprehensive coverage may help cover the theft of car parts.
Comprehensive coverage typically helps cover losses such as theft. In the event your car is stolen, call the police and file a report, notify your insurance company after you've filed the report and if your car is leased or financed you should notify the lender.
If your friend was involved in a wreck while driving your car, typically your insurance policy (not his) would likely be tapped to pay for damage or injury costs resulting from the accident. However, the way this plays out varies by state and depends on the specific coverages and limits of your insurance policy.
Keep in mind that the coverage you may receive will depend on the type of auto policy you have. In the event of an accident, note that you may be required to pay a deductible in order for your coverage to fully kick in.