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7 things you probably didn’t know car insurance covers

Most people expect auto insurance to cover them in a crash, but it can do way more

Audi A5 Crushed By Tree from rear end angle with tree on roof and crushed front end on road.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Car insurance is one of those things that most people buy and never think about — until they need it, or when it’s time to renew their policy. While everyone with car insurance expects their vehicle to be covered in an accident, it covers some other surprising things too.

Depending on what kind of car insurance coverage you have, there’s a good chance it includes more than just a basic accident. We’ll explore seven surprising things you may not know that your car insurance policy can cover. You might have to spring for extra coverage, but if you do, these surprising things that FinanceBuzz put together might be covered.

Hawaii Kilauea volcano aerial
Kilauea. Chris Clor/Getty Images

Volcano damage

No, we’re not talking about some crazy movie scene where you’re driving away from a volcano in the middle of an eruption. This is more along the lines of ash that can cause problems for your car cosmetically, or even mechanically to the engine. Or maybe it’s a situation where you park your car and come back to find it underneath lava. According to the United States Geological Survey, there are 161 potentially active volcanoes in the U.S. Most are located in Alaska, but you’ll also find some in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

If you have comprehensive coverage, most damage caused to your vehicle by a volcano is covered under most insurance policies. This includes your car getting swallowed up by molten lava or damaged by airborne shockwaves or ash.

A young buck in the woods.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Wild animals

If you live in a city, you might scoff at the idea of having wild animal coverage for your car, but for people who live in the woods where deer, bears, moose, elk, racoons, and opossums are common, this could be a huge deal. Wild animals can break into your car for those leftover snacks, or they could damage your car for no obvious reason besides the fact that they’re wild animals. This part also covers any damages from hitting a wild animal with your car when you’re driving.

Damage from wild animals should be covered under a comprehensive policy plan for your car.

Rough road sign behind a road that's filled with pot holes with grass and trees on the side.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Pothole damage

Potholes are like wild animals, but for city dwellers. Potholes suck, especially if you have a sports car or a car with massive wheels and low-profile tires. Every time I run over one, I wince and mumble about my hard-earned tax dollars. While it’s always best to avoid potholes if you can, the collision portion of your car’s insurance policy will cover any damages that occur because of a crash involving a pothole. This can be helpful if you bend a rim or seriously damage your suspension by running over a pothole.

Orionid meteor shower over Japan
Kazushi Inagaki/Getty Images

Meteorite strikes (no, really)

There’s nothing like a glowing ball of space rock hurtling through the sky to make you question your existence on earth. If one of those pieces of space rock – from a satellite, meteor, or anything else from space, really – manages to hit and seriously damage your vehicle, repairs will be covered under a comprehensive insurance policy. If something falls out of the sky and it causes you to get into an accident, that’s covered under a liability policy. Just remember: While meteors are always cool to record with your phone, it’s best to pay attention to the road ahead and try to take mental pictures of whatever’s crashing down from space instead of swerving all over the road to get the perfect shot.

A squirrel sitting on a fallen tree in the woods.
Tj Holowaychuk / Unsplash

Rodent damage

Try to fight it as much as you want, but rodents will find their way into everything. You may think your car is built like a tank and that there’s no possible way that a rat, mouse, squirrel, or chipmunk can find its way in, but they can, and they will. Once they gain access to your car, there’s no telling what kind of damage they’ll cause. Usually, they’re looking for food and a warm place to stay. They’ll wind up burrowing in your engine bay, chewing up some wires, digging through your interior, and scrounging for crumbs. As more and more automakers move toward using environmentally friendly materials in their vehicles, the prevalence of rodent damage is expected to increase.

Damage to your car’s wiring could be pricey to fix. It’s best to check with your insurer to see if rodent damage is covered under a comprehensive plan. It’s certainly worth getting covered, as one mouse could wreak havoc and result in a hefty bill.

Commercial van with graffiti on it with graffiti on a wall in the back.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Vandalism

We’ve all been there. We try to save money or time by parking in a sketchy part of town or in a place where our significant others are openly voicing their opinion on why we shouldn’t park there. It happens. You come back and notice that your car’s tires are slashed, the windows are smashed, the sides have been keyed, or there’s graffiti on your car. The good news is that these should all be covered with a comprehensive insurance plan.

If the damage is light, you might want to look into seeing how much it will cost to pay for repairs out of pocket instead of filing a claim, as that can trigger an increase in your rates. You’ll also be on the hook for paying your deductible.

A hand holding a detailing brush against a steering wheel.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Detailing

If your car gets stolen by some messy and careless thieves who decide to trash the interior, your insurance might pay to get the vehicle detailed. It might not be the best detailing job – not one that would get you millions of clicks on TikTok, anyway – but it will be good enough to get stains, smoke smells, and trash out of your car.

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Joel Patel
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Joel Patel is a former contributor for The Manual. His work has also been featured on Autoweek, Digital Trends, Autoblog…
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