Master your car, Part 2 |Let’s face it. No one likes having to submit a car insurance claim. If you’re submitting a claim, something not-so-good has happened to your vehicle. Not only is there the potential hassle of dealing with an auto repair shop, but there’s also the worry that a claim could affect your car insurance rate. While there are a lot of factors that go into determining your rate, claims can certainly be one of them.
So the best option? Not having to submit a claim at all. And no—we don’t mean driving around in a damaged vehicle to avoid your auto insurance company. We mean taking simple steps to avoid the situations that may lead to submitting a claim in the first place.
Here are some of the most common claims we see here at Root and our tips for how to avoid them.
Theft and vandalism are often crimes of opportunity—they can happen any time of the day. These claims also spike in the spring when people tend to be out and about. To avoid these crimes of opportunity, don’t leave valuables in plain sight, and always lock your car. At night, park in a well-lit area or better yet, in a secure garage.
Having a car alarm is also a good idea. Some vehicles come with them, but if not, you can purchase one separately. (An added bonus: you can usually add a remote starter with your car alarm.)
If you do find yourself with a theft or vandalism claim, it would fall under Comprehensive coverage.
This one can be a bit tricky. Sometimes a hail storm comes seemingly out of nowhere, yet causes lots of damage pretty quickly. If you’re driving when a hail storm begins, pull under an overpass, if possible. And anytime you park your vehicle, try to park in a garage, carport, or under other shelter. Check out these useful tips for preparing your vehicle for a storm.
Hail damage claims also fall under Comprehensive coverage, so consider adding that to your policy, if you haven’t already.
Damage to a Parked Car
Imagine this: you come back to your parked vehicle to find it’s been sideswiped and your side mirror is missing. Sometimes bad drivers happen to parked vehicles.
If you have to park on the street, try to keep your vehicle safe from harm by parking in a low-traffic area. Also be sure to park as close to the curb as possible, and fold in your mirrors.
If you’re parking in a garage or lot, look for an empty area with lots of open spaces.
If you do find yourself with damage to your parked car, this claim would fall under Collision coverage.
To help keep your windshield free of chips and cracks, leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Avoid tailgating commercial vehicles that could kick up gravel and stones. (There’s a reason for those warning signs to stay back a certain number of feet.)
If you do get a chip in your windshield, get it fixed right away—a windshield crack repair may not cost you anything out of pocket. If you don’t get it repaired right away, you run the risk of it cracking more, especially in colder weather. Replacing your entire windshield can be expensive, particularly with some of the newer windshields that come with things like defrosters, sensors, and cameras.
Windshield damage claims fall under Comprehensive coverage.
To avoid getting into a car accident, leave plenty of stopping distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Be aware of your surroundings, and always practice defensive driving. And never, ever drive distracted. Use these tips for keeping your focus on the road.
Find yourself in a fender bender? Damage from a car accident would fall under Collision coverage.
Accidents happen. After all, that’s why you have car insurance to begin with. Following these tips can help you avoid the most common claims. But just in case, check your policy to see if you’re covered for these situations. If you do have to file a claim, we make it quick and easy by letting you report your claim right in the app.
Not a Root member yet? See how much your good driving could save you on better coverage for every type of claim.
See more from the Master Your Car Series.