Would my auto insurance cover THAT?

Test your insurance knowledge

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Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

Credentials
  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

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Ross Martin

Manager, Content Quality

Credentials
  • Licensed Insurance Agent (former) — Property and Casualty

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. As a licensed insurance agent, he specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers…

When it comes to auto insurance, people’s first concern is often: how much is that going to cost me? But then when you have a fender bender or their car is caught in a flood, the biggest question is: will my insurance cover that? 

Today, we’re looking at a few likely and unlikely scenarios. Do you think the average full coverage policy (comprehensive + collision) would pay out claims for these unfortunate events?


If a tree falls in the woods…

You are driving through the forest on a beautiful sunny day, when a tree falls and lands on the front of your car. Why did it fall? Maybe there was a stiff breeze. Maybe there was an undiagnosed epidemic of root rot in that particular forest. Maybe it was just that tree’s time to go. What matters is the front of your car is badly damaged.

 tree

Yes

Most comprehensive insurance policies do include coverage for falling objects. Like theft, vandalism and fires, falling objects are not your fault and usually impossible to prevent. That said, falling objects can be an exclusion in your policy, so you’ll need to talk to your insurance company to confirm.

The case of the purloined pie safe

You took an antique wooden pie safe you got from an estate sale to the Antiques Roadshow and they told you it used to belong to John Quincey Adams and could fetch a huge sum at auction! You go out to celebrate your good fortune with milkshakes, but when you return to your vehicle someone has broken the back window of your SUV and taken the Adams pie safe.

 cabinet

No

Sorry, but while you could file a claim for the broken window, most comprehensive policies won’t cover the personal items within your car, even if owned by former presidents. If you have a home or renter’s policy, you can look to them to potentially cover some of the cost of stolen items. 

Embracing the lumberjack life

After the tree falling on your car incident, it takes a while for you to overcome your fear of falling trees, but when you do, you decide to go all in and become a lumberjack. Your new career path means a long commute up into the mountains. The mountain roads do a number on your brake pads. You go to get them replaced before they lead you to have a serious accident.

 Snowcapped Road

No

You can’t file a claim for basic maintenance and repairs to your vehicle. Unlike health insurance, where the insurance company will pay for preventative care to keep you healthy, auto insurance is only designed to help in the event that an insurable loss has already occurred.

The mysterious and annoying unicorn artist

Your neighborhood has been struck by a vandal who fancies themselves Lisa Frank. Several cars on the block have been spray painted with unicorns and fairies in the middle of the night. Last night, you left your car on the street, and it became the latest victim. Not only did they paint unicorns all over the roof and sides, but even on the windshield! It’s not going to come off without replacing the windsheild.

 paint

Yes

You can file a claim. Comprehensive policies do generally cover acts of vandalism, such as this display of "art."

We hope none of the above scenarios ever happen to you (except becoming a lumberjack, if that's your dream). But if they do, make sure you have auto insurance coverage and know exactly what your policy covers and excludes. If you have other claims questions and wonder if you something might be covered, check out our insurance claims calculator to input your scenario.