May 1, 2011

Finding Out Whether Auto Insurance Companies Will Pay For Damage To Keyed Cars

To find out if auto insurance companies will pay for damage to keyed cars, it's best to ask the insurance company representative with whom you're dealing directly. Beyond this, it's a good idea to ask to be shown, in writing, where events such as vandalism are covered in your specific policy. What an agent tells you verbally may or may not be accurate, but what is written in the policy will be binding, since an insurance policy is a legal, enforceable contract.

In most auto insurance company policies, acts of vandalism are covered under the comprehensive insurance portion. Comprehensive coverage is an option not required by law and must be added to basic liability car coverage in order to be put in force.

Comprehensive protection is coverage for losses that occur as a result of a car being stolen or damaged in an event other than a collision. This usually includes fire, acts of nature, such as hail storms, lightning strikes, floods, or earthquakes. A baseball crashing through the windshield, vandalism (such as with keyed cars) or a tree falling onto a car would also typically qualify.

Bear in mind that comprehensive coverage is always associated with a specific deductible amount for which the policyholder is responsible to pay in conjunction with any claim made. Deductible amounts are determined at the time a policy is taken out and can be any amount agreed upon by the insurer and the insured. Typically, the deductible amount is set at around $500, but could be as low as zero or as high as $1000 or more. As a rule of thumb, the higher the deductible amount, the lower the premium cost. For those with high deductibles, repairs required to fix keyed cars may cost less than the deductible amount, in which case the insurer will pay nothing, making the filing of a claim unnecessary.

Auto insurance companies write policies to be very specific and most policy contracts will include a clause entitled "exclusions." This is a list of specific items that are not covered by the policy. For example, in the state of Florida, hurricanes may be excluded. California policies may contain an exclusion for earthquakes, and tornadoes may be excluded in Kansas. While not likely, it's possible that keyed cars could be excluded in a policy written in an area where auto vandalism rates are exceptionally high.

It's important to realize that an insurance policy can basically contain whatever terms the underwriter includes and once signed, it becomes a binding legal contract. For this reason, it's imperative that anyone obtaining coverage read through the entire document before agreeing to its terms, conditions, and exclusions.