if i damage my own car can i claim on my insurance

Getting into an accident and damaging your own car can be frustrating and costly. You may be wondering if filing an insurance claim is an option when you are at fault. The answer depends on your auto insurance coverage.

Collision and Comprehensive Coverage Pay for Own Damage

There are two main types of car insurance that cover damage you cause to your own vehicle:

  • Collision insurance – Pays to repair or replace your car if you collide with another vehicle, object, or roll/flip your car.
  • Comprehensive insurance – Covers damage from theft, vandalism, weather events, fire, or hitting an animal.

Collision and comprehensive insurance are optional, but often required by lenders if you have an auto loan or lease.

Liability insurance, which is mandatory in most states, does NOT pay for damage to your own car when you are at fault. It only covers injuries/damages you cause to others.

Should You File a Claim or Pay Out of Pocket?

If you have collision and/or comprehensive insurance, you can file a claim or pay for repairs yourself when you damage your own vehicle. Consider:

Pros of filing a claim:

  • Only pay your deductible, rather than full repair cost
  • Claims process is easier than paying out-of-pocket

Cons of filing a claim:

  • Rates likely increase, especially if recent claims
  • Could be dropped after multiple claims

Pros of paying out-of-pocket:

  • Avoid premium hikes
  • Makes sense if damage is close to deductible

Cons of paying out-of-pocket:

  • Pay full repair cost, instead of just deductible
  • More effort to handle repairs yourself

Factors to help decide the best option:

  • Cost of repairs – If close to your deductible, paying yourself may be better
  • Your deductible amount – Lower deductible makes claim more beneficial
  • Premium increase estimates – Research typical rate hikes in your state
  • Your budget – Can you afford out-of-pocket cost?

How Claims Affect Your Car Insurance Rates

Insurers look at your claims history when setting premiums. Here’s how rates are impacted:

  • One minor claim could increase rates 20-40% per year for 3-5 years
  • One major claim could increase rates 40-50% per year for 3-5 years
  • Two claims in 1 year could increase rates up to 90-100%
  • Multiple claims could get you non-renewed or cancelled

The more claims you file, the higher your rates will likely climb.

When You Must File a Claim for Own Damage

In certain cases, you may have no choice but to file a claim:

  • If you have an auto loan, the lender will require collision/comprehensive coverage and claims for damage
  • If the damage impacts safety or functioning of your vehicle
  • If you damaged someone else’s property, your liability insurer may require a claim
  • If damage resulted from crime like vandalism or theft

Steps to File an Insurance Claim for Own Damage

If you decide to submit a claim, follow these steps:

  1. Notify your insurer of the incident as soon as possible. Provide policy number and details.
  2. Take photos of damage to all areas of the vehicle for documentation.
  3. File a police report for major damage, theft, or vandalism. Give a copy to the insurer.
  4. Allow your insurance company to inspect the vehicle and assess damages.
  5. Submit required documents like claim form, proof of repairs, etc.
  6. Pay your deductible amount. The insurer pays the repair shop or reimburses you for covered repairs beyond the deductible.
  7. Wait for claim settlement and closure from the insurance company.

Can I Get Coverage That Pays for Any Own Damage?

Some specialty auto insurance policies provide more complete coverage when you damage your own car:

  • Agreed value coverage pays the full agreed-upon value if your car is totaled, regardless of fault.
  • Full replacement cost coverage pays to repair or replace your car with no deduction for depreciation.
  • Disappearing deductible makes your deductible disappear if the damage wasn’t your fault.

These options cost more but cover own damage fully. Discuss choices with your agent.

Key Takeaways

  • Collision and comprehensive insurance can pay for damage you cause to your own car.
  • Consider the cost of repairs, deductible, and potential premium increases to decide if a claim makes sense.
  • Multiple claims for own damage can substantially increase your car insurance rates over time.
  • In some cases you must file a claim, like if you have a car loan or damage someone else’s property.
  • Specialty policies are available that provide more complete coverage for own damage situations.


Which type of coverage pays for damage to your own car?

Physical Damage Coverage pays the cost of repairs or replacement of your car, minus your deductible. Collision covers damage to your car from an accident with another car or a physical object. Comprehensive covers damage to your car from events other than a collision, such as theft, fire, or vandalism.

Should you file a claim if the cost of fixing the damage to your own car is less than or equal to your deduct

Note that if the repair costs are less than your comprehensive deductible, you would pay for the repairs yourself because your insurer only covers damage that exceeds your deductible amount.

How much will my insurance go up after a claim?

That said, you’ll usually be looking at an increase of 20%-50%. Unless it’s protected, you should also expect to lose any no-claims discount you’ve built up. Even if it’s protected you could still see your premiums rise – this is because a no-claims discount is a reduction from a baseline car insurance premium.

What damage won’t car insurance cover?

Damage caused by freeze or ice. Anything that occurs if you’re using your car for business (including driving for rideshare companies like Lyft) Routine maintenance, like oil or tire changes. Fancy custom parts (over a maximum of $1,000)
Does car insurance cover hail damage?
Yes, car insurance covers hail damage if you carry comprehensive insurance coverage. If you have a liability-only car insurance policy, hail damage won’t be covered. Liability insurance only pays for injuries or property damage you cause in an accident and is almost always required by law. Comprehensive car insurance is optional coverage for damage caused by anything other than a collision, like natural disasters and other events outside your control, including theft, vandalism, wildlife, and weather events.
Does car insurance cover flood damage?
Car insurance covers flood damage if the policy includes comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage is typically required for financed and leased cars, but optional for drivers who own their cars. However, many drivers choose to carry comprehensive coverage to protect themselves from non-collision damage, like flooding. That’s because state laws only require liability insurance, which covers damage that results from your car hitting someone or something. If you stick with the minimum insurance requirements, your car…

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