Comprehensive coverage from car insurance will cover losses due to vandalism, which is one of many winter hazards covered by two optional types of car insurance: comprehensive and collision. Here are nine winter driving hazards to be aware of:
1. Car abandoned in the snow. If your car is stuck in the snow and emergency roadside assistance can’t get to you to help, you can either wait it out in your car or leave it behind.
Your car insurance may offer roadside assistance, such as the towing services AAA has in its policies. Or your new car warranty may offer free towing. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to file a claim with your insurer for having your car towed.
Comprehensive coverage will cover car vandalism, says Lisa Radov, co-owner of GebcoInsurance in Baltimore. Comprehensive insurance is a type of coverage that most car owners have because it covers them when something hits their car that’s not related to a traffic accident, Radov says, such as theft or vandalism. Comprehensive also covers natural disasters and fire, and is an optional type of insurance coverage.
While insurance companies differ on what their comprehensive coverage will pay for, a falling tree, snow damage to a car and other natural disasters usually are covered, she says.
A deductible must usually be paid first when making a claim, though the good news is that comprehensive insurance claims don’t usually raise rates, Radov says.
2. Deer. Deer pose significant threats to motorists in the winter, says Elizabeth Dlutowski, an account manager at Nigro Insurance Agency in Philadelphia. But how your car comes in contact with a deer determines the type of coverage that will pay for the damage.
If a driver hits a deer and it runs away, that would be covered under comprehensive, Dlutowski says. But if a driver hits a deer and the deer doesn’t flee due to injury or death, that would be covered under collision, she says.
Both types of coverage are optional if you own your car. So, if you don’t have collision or comprehensive, you wouldn’t be covered, depending on if the deer got away after being struck.
Drivers of older cars sometimes get rid of collision coverage because their car isn’t worth much money if the car is totaled, Radov says.
3. Slide on ice into a pole. Sliding your car on ice and hitting something stationary, such as a pole or even a curb, would be covered under collision, Dlutowski says.
Collision coverage pays for damage from a collision with another car or object, including a car or pothole caused after the snow melts.
Just be sure that the claim is higher than your deductible. Collision deductibles are often high, around $500, Radov says. Comprehensive deductibles are usually lower, around $100 to $250, she says.
4. Slid into parked cars. Gravity, momentum and ice can lead to an accident where your car is out of your control and slides down an icy hill into parked cars.
“It takes special skills to drive in snow and ice,” Radov says, adding that any kind of adverse weather conditions, including rain and snow, can lower visibility and increasing slipping tires.