If you haven’t read your policy lately, what isn’t covered by your car insurance might surprise you. Without knowing what your policy specifically covers, you may just be setting yourself up for a major shock when it comes time to file a claim. Guess work isn’t an option in situations such as this. It can cost you a great deal of money from a loss your insurance company rejects.
Many policyholders are unfamiliar or misinformed about the basics of an insurance policy – leaving them open to misinterpreting what their car insurance covers. A survey conducted in 2010 by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) showed that more than 60 percent of those insured were not confident enough to make decisions about their car insurance due to lack in understanding their own policy.
To help you better understand policy exclusions, we’ve broken down the things your car insurance policy won’t cover.
1. Personal items kept in the car – Regardless of the amount of car insurance you have, personal items are not covered by your policy. As a rule, your insurance company will pay out should your car be stolen or damaged. Also covered are certain parts of the car, such as your stereo or seats. Items kept in the car, including purses, briefcases, sports equipment, and electronic devices like iPods, iPads, and laptops are not covered. If you have a homeowners policy and these items were taken while the car was parked in your driveway, you may want to check with your insurer, just in case it falls under that coverage. Customized equipment, especially add-ons for disabilities, which may include a ramp or wheelchair rack might be covered – but, it requires additional coverage to protect them.
2. Wrath of Mother Nature – When Mother Nature decides to take it out on your car, if you only have collision coverage, you’ll be singing the blues. Reason being, the insurance industry views this as an “act of God”. It’s also referred to as an “other than collision” loss. So, if a tree falls on your car, or a tornado takes it on a two-county ride, regardless of where it comes down, it’s not covered. Other acts of God that are omitted from coverage, depending on where you live, are hurricanes, earthquakes. floods, tsunamis, hitting a deer or other large animal. Taking your specific location and associated risks into account, situations that are not covered will vary. The best way to take the “wrath” from Mother Nature is to purchase a comprehensive policy as well. That way, you’ll be covered for any “other than collision” losses.
3. Those living with you not named on your policy – This one can be confusing. Although laws vary from state to state, if a family member or a friend borrows your car, it’s generally covered. But, that may not apply if the person resides at the same address. If those people aren’t named on your car insurance policy, then they may not be covered. Contact your insurance agent and make sure before you find out the hard way.
4. Poor maintenance – If you’ve neglected your car over the years and, because of poor maintenance, it shows ordinary to excessive wear and tear…you’re not covered. Worn out tires and brakes are your responsibility not your insurance company’s. On the other hand, should these items be damaged in an accident or other situation stated in your insurance policy, they will be replaced.
5. The No-No of driving your car for business purposes – Typically, your personal car insurance covers you for commuting to and from work. But, you may not have the proper policy if you drive over long distances as part of your job. Case in point, if you’re a salesman and are in charge of a large territory that includes spending the good part of your day on the road, you may not be covered if you have an accident. A personal car insurance plan will leave you vulnerable, as you’ll most likely be denied your claim if, at the time of the accident, you were using your car for business without additional coverage. The way to get around this is by contacting your insurance agent and purchasing a commercial auto policy to cover your car for the excess mileage.
The best advice is…don’t assume anything. Know what you’re covered for and make the necessary adjustments to save yourself the disappointment.
Also, don’t assume you’re getting the best rates on your car insurance. Why not get a free car insurance quote today?
Have you had one of these claims that was denied? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.