Car Insurance Exclusions

What isn't covered by your car insurance?

Location pin icon
Your information is secure.

Car insurance exclusions

You don’t buy car insurance hoping to use it. Insurance is there to provide protection in case of an accident. When you do have to use your car insurance, the last thing you want is to find out something isn’t covered. 

Along with knowing the limits of your coverage, it’s important to know which behaviors can lead to your coverage being dropped or voided. This knowledge can help you avoid a situation in which you are deemed personally liable for damages. Every insurance company is different, but here are some of the common car insurance exclusions you can expect to see. 

 

Liability exclusions:

Your liability coverage never pays you. By definition, liability coverage pays others for damages that are caused by you. As such, if you only carry liability insurance, you and your vehicle will not be covered in the event of an accident.

Hitting your own car: Should you cause damage to your own car, your liability insurance is under no obligation to cover it. In this instance, you would need collision or comprehensive coverage. 

Delivery driving: If you deliver pizzas on weekends with your own car, there’s a good chance your personal auto insurance policy won’t cover you. This is because you are using your car for business purposes. As such, to be covered in the event of an accident while making deliveries, you would need to obtain insurance through your employer or switch to a commercial auto policy for delivery drivers

 

Medical payments exclusions

Medical payments coverage covers death and bodily injury of those in your vehicle. Just as with liability coverage, there are certain exclusions that apply to medical payments. In most cases, the same exclusions will apply to MedPay as liability. In addition to these, the following are also excluded by MedPay.

Injury to an employee: If you have an employee who is injured while working, losses should be covered under worker’s compensation and not your personal auto insurance policy.

Vehicle being used as a residence: An insurance company can deny coverage on a claim relating to any vehicle being used as a residence.

 

Damage to your vehicle

Your insurance won’t cover certain damages to your vehicle, even if you carry collision and comprehensive coverage. These coverages can come in handy if you have been in an accident or if your car sustained damage due to a covered peril.

Some of the damages your insurance won’t cover: 

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Tire wear
  • Damage resulting from prearranged racing
  • Broken glass
  • Mechanical failure
  • Non-permanent electronics

Keep in mind: while you can usually purchase liability coverage for a salvaged or rebuilt vehicle, some companies may not allow you to purchase collision and comprehensive insurance. 

 

Police seizure or lawful repossession: If your car is confiscated or repossessed by the government, losses are not covered by insurance. 

Unapproved vehicle modifications: If you want to customize your vehicle, it’s important to let your insurance company know about it. Your insurance company assesses your vehicle with the assumption that it has standard equipment. Therefore, any modifications that you make would not be covered under a typical policy.

People make modifications for a variety of reasons ⁠— including aesthetic, performance, and mobility purposes ⁠— but all must be properly insured in order to be covered. Most insurance companies will cover such equipment for a specified amount. 

However, keep in mind that modifications will likely increase your insurance premiums. In some cases, you may find that your insurance company is unwilling to cover certain modifications. This could even lead some companies to drop your coverage altogether. 

Personal possessions: Any of your personal possessions damaged in an accident are, unfortunately, not likely to be covered. However, you may find that a homeowners or renters policy could provide coverage for possessions.

Catastrophic events: Death, injury, or damage sustained by nuclear accidents, war, or other catastrophic events are not covered by car insurance.



Other car insurance exclusions

Named-driverexclusion: The named driver exclusion removes particular drivers from your policy, meaning they will not be covered under the policy. Normally, your policy works under a permissive use basis, meaning that if you loan your vehicle to someone, they are covered by your insurance in the event of an accident. 

However, if a driver is specifically excluded on your policy, insurance coverage no longer applies. There are a number of reasons that you might elect to exclude a driver. First and foremost, if that driver has a poor driving record or offenses — such as DUIs — excluding them could save you money on your premium. 

Illegal activity: If you have an accident while engaged in illegal activity, you may not be covered by your insurance policy.

Intentional damage: A basic rule of any type of insurance is that it never covers intentional damage. If you knowingly caused damage to your vehicle, it will not be covered.  

Driving outside of the US: Most insurance policies sold by American insurance companies are valid only in the United States. Crossing into another country could void your coverage. However, it is often possible to add coverage that extends to countries such as Canada and Mexico. It is very important that you check with your insurance provider first.

Driving for a rideshare company: If you drive for a company such as Lyft or Uber without the proper rideshare insurance, you run the risk of voiding your coverage. These companies both offer limited insurance during portions of the ride, but there are gaps in this coverage that could lead to problems should you have an accident. Many car insurance companies offer an endorsement that allows you.

The difference between a loan and the vehicle’s value: As your car depreciates, you can wind up owing more on your vehicle than it is currently worth. Even with full coverage, if your vehicle is a total loss, your insurance may only cover the current worth, leaving you on the hook for the difference. Gap insurance could be added to help make up the difference. 

 

Commonly excluded vehicles

There are certain vehicles that are not likely to be covered by a standard insurance policy: 

  • Vehicles with fewer than four wheels:
  • Off-road vehicles
  • Vehicles whose primary use is for racing
  • Business vehicles (commercial coverage is required)

 

When could an auto insurance claim be denied?

It can be stressful to worry about whether or not your claim will be approved after an accident.

Below are some reasons a car insurance claim could be denied: 

  • Non-paid premium
  • You didn’t file the claim in time
  • You exceeded the limits of your policy (in this case you would be responsible for the differences)

 

How to stay covered

The best way to make sure you are fully covered is by reading your car insurance policy very carefully. Any further questions should be directed to your insurance company. For general questions, you can always ask the Zebra. We can help you find competitive rates on the car insurance that you need. 

Compare over 100 insurance companies at once!

Location pin icon