When you’re shopping for insurance, it’s important to know exactly what your car insurance covers and what it doesn’t. A quote always includes liability coverage, and you can request additional coverage such as comprehensive and collision coverage and extras like roadside assistance.
But there are some auto-related problems your car insurance won’t cover. In many cases you can buy additional insurance for these; in others, you’ll have to take them on yourself.
Although policy specifics vary among companies, some exclusions are common. They include:
- Theft of your belongings from your car. If you have comprehensive coverage, the theft of your car is covered. Unfortunately, that coverage only extends to the vehicle itself. If your laptop was in the backseat, or if a thief broke into your car to take the laptop, car insurance won’t cover the computer’s replacement cost. However, a renters or homeowners insurance policy often covers items outside of your home and can pay to replace stolen items.
- Damage caused by excluded drivers. Some states and insurers allow you to exclude specific drivers from your policy — usually someone in your household who has access to your car but shouldn’t be driving it, like an elderly parent or a teen with a history of unsafe driving. Excluding high-risk drivers could help keep your rates manageable. But if you exclude a driver and that person does drive your car and ends up in an accident, your insurer won’t cover the damage.
- Livery. Car insurance companies’ “livery” exclusions are a fancy way of saying you’re not allowed to drive other people around for money. More drivers are running up against this policy provision as they contract for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft. In a handful of states, some carriers now offer specific ridesharing insurance for a small, additional cost — $6 to $8 per month in USAA’s case. But if your insurer doesn’t have a program, you’ll have to spring for business auto insurance. Your personal auto insurance alone won’t cover ridesharing.
- Racing. Though racing your car may be fun, it’s much too big of a risk for insurers to take on. If you’re hurt, or if your vehicle is damaged when you take your car out on the track, your auto insurance won’t cover it.
Other common exclusions include war damage, intentional damage and standard wear and tear.
Unfortunately not all car insurance exclusions can be patched up with other policies. The best way to thoroughly understand these and other exclusions is to read your auto insurance policy.
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