Skip to main content

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


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


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.

Editors' Recommendations

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…
Simple garage organization tips for better car and motorcycle care
You'll be surprised how useful your garage can be when it's clean and organized
A cluttered garage with tools on shelves and a dirty floor.

For many people, garages are out of sight and out of mind. Who cares if they’re dirty, dark, or dingy? The majority of homeowners use garages to store items, not as the location for a block party. While garage organization can seem like a tedious waste of time, spending some time to get your garage in order will make it far easier to work on cars or other hobbies and could even help you find some extra space to store an extra engine for your track car, a new-to-you motorcycle, or another fun vehicle.

While we can lay out general tips to help you organize your garage, finding a way to get your garage in order is a personal thing. You may prioritize having space for all of your automotive tools, two cars to fit comfortably side by side, or lawn care equipment in an easy-to-access area. Everyone envisions their garage as being something that works for their specific needs, so a one-size-fits-all approach won't work. You can check out your friends' garages or look up pictures online to get inspiration, but your garage is a personal matter.

Read more
Check engine, tire pressure, and more: The most common car warning lights explained
Here's a breakdown of what your car is telling you
Car warning light on a vehicle dashboard.

Depending on what you drive (and how well you take care of it), your car may have anywhere between zero and half a dozen different car warning lights on the dash at any given time. They're all trying to tell you something, and some are more urgent than others.

Dashboard warning lights that you need to understand
If you've got a new light on your dash (or have been driving around with one for longer than you care to admit), you're in the right place. Below, we'll break down all the most common warning lights in a car that you'll see from behind the wheel, what they mean, and how to get them off your dash.
Check engine/service engine light
Ah yes, the dreaded check engine light. For many of us, the check engine light feels like a probable death sentence for our cars, but truth be told, it's not always a big deal. Your car flashes the check engine light any time something's wrong with any part of your engine or emissions system.

Read more
Follow these car tire maintenance tips for long-lasting tires
This is how you can keep your tires in good condition
Front left golden wheel on a yellow Lamborghini

The car tires are often the most overlooked part of a vehicle. Despite being tasked with literally keeping your car on the road, most owners pay more attention to a car’s engine, fluids, or brakes. Without tires, your car wouldn’t be able to get down the road, making them just as important as gas and oil. Just like any other part of your car, tires need to be maintained. Luckily, tire maintenance is a DIY process that’s easy to do and can help you avoid tire repair service.

If you’re the kind of person who changes your car’s oil, then you’ll probably have all the tools you need to maintain your car’s tires. Gather them after organizing your garage. You’ll want to get into a habit of regularly checking your car’s tires. Whether it’s after every car wash or every season, maintaining your car’s tires helps keep you on the road and out of a ditch.

Read more