Getting bullet holes in your car can be a shocking and stressful experience. You likely have a lot of questions, starting with “Will my insurance cover this damage?” Fortunately, the answer is often yes—with the right coverage. Let’s take an in-depth look at how bullet damage is handled by auto insurance.
What is Comprehensive Coverage?
Comprehensive coverage is an optional add-on with your auto policy that covers damage from non-collision events. This includes:
- Weather events
- Falling objects
- Animal collisions
Basically, if the damage wasn’t caused by a crash with another car, comprehensive coverage will handle the repairs. This makes it the coverage you need for bullet holes.
Without comprehensive coverage, you’d be responsible for the full cost of repairing bullet damage out of pocket. Given that body work and replacing parts can quickly run into the thousands, it’s easy to see why comprehensive is important protection.
Will Comprehensive Insurance Cover Bullet Holes?
Yes, as long as you have comprehensive coverage, bullet holes will be covered. Your insurer will pay for the repairs to your vehicle under this portion of your policy.
There are a few caveats to be aware of:
Your deductible applies – Like with collision claims, you’ll pay your comprehensive deductible when filing a claim for bullet damage. If your deductible is $500 and the repairs are $2000, you’d pay $500 out of pocket.
There are exclusions – Damage connected to criminal activity you were involved in may not be covered. Your insurer will investigate the claim.
Certain parts may not be covered – Custom addons you’ve made to your vehicle often aren’t covered. This includes custom paint jobs, electronics, wheels, etc.
As long as you weren’t involved in the shooting and have comprehensive coverage, repairs from bullet holes will be covered subject to your deductible.
Filing a Claim for Bullet Hole Damage
When your vehicle gets shot, you’ll need to file a claim with your insurance company for the repairs. Here are the steps:
Contact the police – File a police report on the incident and get a copy for your records. This helps document what happened.
Take photos – Thoroughly photograph the damage from all angles before having any repairs done. This provides proof for the claims process.
Call your insurer – Notify your insurance provider as soon as possible after the incident. Provide details and the police report case number.
Get a repair estimate – Your insurer will ask you to bring the car to an approved shop for an estimate. This will determine the cost of repairs.
Pay your deductible – Once approved, your insurer will pay the shop directly for the repairs, minus your deductible which you’ll need to provide upfront.
Get the repairs done – Leave the car at the shop approved by your insurer. They will handle the repairs covered by your policy.
It’s a fairly straightforward claims process as long as you have comprehensive coverage. Your insurer will walk you through every step.
How Much Does it Cost to Repair Bullet Holes?
The cost to repair damage from bullets can vary quite a bit based on the severity and location of the damage. Here are some averages:
- Small hole in body panel – $100 to $500
- Replacing a windshield – $200 to $400
- Door replacement – $500 to $1500+
- Major body damage – Over $2000
Labor and part replacement make up the bulk of the cost. Body work required to fix dents and holes is very time intensive. Replacing parts like windshields and doors is expensive.
The total repair bill can climb quickly if there are multiple bullet holes or the damage is extensive. Having comprehensive insurance is extremely useful for covering these potentially high costs.
Will My Rates Go Up for Comprehensive Claims?
One of the big benefits of comprehensive insurance is that claims don’t impact your rates as much. Since random events like vandalism aren’t your fault, insurers don’t view them as negatively.
- At-fault accident claims may raise your rates 20% or more.
- Comprehensive claims average just a 5% rate increase.
In some cases, your insurer may not raise your rates at all for comprehensive claims. Be sure to ask how a bullet hole claim might impact your premium when reporting the damage.
Can I Get Car Insurance to Cover Bullet Holes?
Since bullet damage needs comprehensive coverage, make sure to add this to your policy.
When getting quotes for car insurance, ask each provider what they charge for comprehensive coverage. Often it’s fairly affordable, costing between $150 to $300 per year depending on your location and vehicle.
Comparing quotes that include comprehensive from different insurers ensures you get the best deal. Rates can vary widely between insurance companies.
Finding the Best Comprehensive Insurance Rates
While comprehensive is inexpensive compared to other coverages, you still want to pay the lowest price possible. Here are some tips:
Shop around – Get quotes from at least 3 insurance providers. Compare their comprehensive rates. Local insurers may offer the best value.
Review your deductible – Opting for a higher deductible like $500 or $1000 brings down your premium. Just be sure you can afford that out-of-pocket cost with a claim.
Ask about discounts – See if any discounts like multi-policy or anti-theft device discounts apply to comprehensive coverage.
Drop unnecessary extras – You may not need rental reimbursement or roadside assistance to lower your total policy cost.
Maintain a good driving record – Keeping a clean record with no accidents or tickets can earn you the best rates.
Finding an insurer that offers affordable comprehensive coverage ensures you can file a claim if your vehicle gets shot. Paying a little more per month for comprehensive insurance can save you thousands in repair bills down the road.
What if I Don’t Have Comprehensive Coverage?
If you only carry basic liability insurance without comprehensive, unfortunately you won’t have coverage for bullet holes or other damage to your own car. Without comprehensive, you’d have to pay for repairs out of pocket.
You may want to file a claim anyway and see if your insurance company is willing to help you out. Some may provide some assistance as a courtesy even when the damage isn’t covered.
However, don’t count on coverage without the proper comprehensive policy in place. Be sure to add this coverage as soon as possible after an incident if you don’t currently have it.
Can I Get Coverage for Damage From My Own Gun?
This scenario is less clear cut. Damage from your own firearm being discharged may or may not be covered:
Accidental discharge – If you didn’t intend for your gun to go off and damage your car, comprehensive coverage would likely apply.
Intentional damage – If you purposefully fired your gun at your car, your insurer may not cover the damage, since it was deliberate.
Coverage depends on the specifics of the situation. Be upfront with your insurer about what happened when filing a claim. Intentionally damaging your own property is insurance fraud.
What to Do if You’re a Victim of a Shooting
Being the victim of gun violence resulting in damage to your vehicle can be a scary and overwhelming situation. Here are some tips on handling the aftermath:
Get to safety first – Your personal well-being is the top priority. Call 911 if needed.
File a police report – Provide law enforcement with all the details on when and where the shooting occurred. Get a copy of the report.
Contact your insurer – Let your insurance provider know as soon as possible and start a claim. Provide the police report case number.
Repair the vehicle – Work with your insurer to get an estimate and get the car fixed through an approved shop.
Seek counseling if needed – Being part of a shooting can be traumatic. Talk to a professional to help process the experience.
Review your coverage – Make sure you have adequate coverage in case of another incident going forward.
Don’t hesitate to lean on law enforcement, your insurance company, counselors, and loved ones to recover after going through a shooting.
Other Questions about Bullet Holes and Car Insurance
Can I repair bullet damage before filing an insurance claim?
It’s best to file the claim before making any repairs. Your insurer will want to see the original damage and get an estimate first. They may even assist with getting alternate transportation while your car is being fixed.
Does car insurance cover repairs from riots and civil unrest?
Yes, damage from riots falls under comprehensive coverage as well. It would be considered vandalism. The same claims process applies.
What if I don’t know when the bullet holes occurred?
File a claim as soon as you notice the damage. Be upfront with your insurance company if you’re unsure exactly when it happened. They can investigate and determine if it’s covered.
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