Chewed Wires? How Car Insurance Covers Hungry Rats and 4 Other Crazy Damages
Most drivers consider the usual protection they need when shopping for car insurance coverage. Some out-of-the-norm mishaps can happen to a vehicle when it isn't on the road that many drivers don't consider — until it happens to them. Then they're left wondering, “does my insurance cover rats eating my car? Does it cover falling space rocks that landed on top of my hood?”
As a driver of these interesting damages, you may be covered if you've got collision insurance. Collision insurance covers a variety of damages not caused by a driving accident. While car insurance regulations vary from state to state, many comprehensive insurance plans cover damages caused by animals (whether they’re eating your wires or you accidentally hit one), vandalism and even objects falling from the sky, such as meteors.
Comprehensive coverage includes expenses from damages caused by non-collision incidents, minus your car insurance deductible. While typically considered full coverage when bundled with collision coverage, comprehensive is less expensive than collision coverage, averaging about $134 a year. The reasonable price makes the additional coverage worth it to many drivers.
Be sure to check with your insurance provider to see if it covers these unexpected damages. If you don’t have a coverage plan that works with these damages when they occur, you may have to pay for the repairs yourself.
1. Hungry Rats and Other Creatures Eating Through Wires
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It’s no fun to get in your car after a long day at work to find out you can’t start your car. If a rat, squirrel or other mischievous rodent has your car wires as a snack, it can cause problems with essential functions. You might not be able to immediately see the damage, but if you see a check engine light or any other warnings on your dashboard, take your car to a mechanic. If it turns out to be chewed wires, then yes, most insurance plans with a comprehensive policy can help you with repair expenses. You might want to double-check with your provider to be sure this is part of your policy. If it is not included, you can ask for options to add the coverage or shop for another insurance plan if this happens often.
It might help to take some preventative actions before hungry rats and rodents turn your car into a free buffet. Parking your car in a garage and away from areas where rats may frequent can help. You can also keep food out of your car, which may be attracting them. You can purchase rodent tape to help protect your wires. Some rodent tape is coated with a very spicy flavor that deters rats from even attempting to chew your wires.
2. Hitting Animals
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No matter where you live, you'll likely encounter creatures great and small on and off the road. While most wildlife tends to shy away from motor vehicles, damage may result when animals come into contact with a car, especially when you are on those dark drives.
Four-legged pedestrians can be an obstacle for drivers, especially in rural areas. Comprehensive car insurance often covers repair expenses to your vehicle caused by hitting animals like deer or cows. If you find yourself in an accident due to you or even another driver swerving or braking to avoid hitting an animal, you can file a claim under your collision coverage, not comprehensive.
3. Natural Disasters
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Depending on where you live, weather can pose a threat to your car. Hurricanes, tornados and other acts of nature have the power to knock over trees, cause rockslides and blow over structures on top of your vehicle. If you have a comprehensive insurance policy before the natural disaster, it can help with repair costs. You may have to pay a car insurance deductible when you file a claim.
Some other natural disasters covered, but may not be limited to, are floods, earthquakes, sinkholes, mud and landslides, wildfires and hailstorms. It’s a good idea to confirm with your insurance provider, so you know before you are caught in a natural occurrence.
4. Objects Falling From Space or Other Vehicles
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Although rare, it's possible that an object from space — such as a meteor or satellite — could fall on your vehicle. Coverage for this type of damage is typically included under the comprehensive plan. However, if falling debris causes an accident, your collision insurance's liability portion will cover related expenses.
If you experience windshield damage caused by rocks or other objects falling off another vehicle on the road, your comprehensive plan will typically pay all or a portion of the cost to fix the damages. You should still check with your insurance provider to ensure that your policy covers objects falling on your vehicle.
5. Damage Caused by Vandalism
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If your car is damaged due to vandalism, during a theft or an angry ex-partner decides to take a sharp object to your paint job, it’s likely covered under your comprehensive insurance policy. Even if a thief didn't take anything, you should still be able to get a smashed window or pried-open door fixed through your auto insurance company. You may need to pay a deductible first.
How to File a Claim With Your Insurance
Finding the right auto insurance company to protect you from potential damages is important as a car owner. If you ever find yourself facing unexpected damages, you need to file a damages claim with your insurance company. Here are five steps on how to file:
- Step 1: If there are injuries or any vehicles involved that can't be moved, call 911. Likewise, depending on where the accident occurred, you may be required to call 911 regardless of damages or injuries.
- Step 2: If you are on the road during the incident, pull over when it is safe.
- Step 3: Take pictures of the damage. Photos will help your insurance provider gain a better understanding of the situation. If the police aren't involved, be sure to get a snapshot of driver's licenses from all drivers involved and license plate numbers.
- Step 4: Call your insurance company's claims department or file a claim through your provider's app. You'll be assigned an adjuster who will walk you through the claims process. Your insurance provider will help you submit needed documentation, including photos.
- Step 5: Stay in contact with your claims adjuster. Keep notes of your interactions, and save all emails and documents you receive to track your claim's progress.
Each insurance company will have its own protocol and required documentation for filing a claim, so don't assume you have everything you need until you speak with your claims adjuster. It's important to note that insurance regulations vary by state, so do your research to understand the rules and requirements set by your state government before you need to file a claim.
About the Author
Nicole Duxbury is a writer for MoneyGeek and a marketing and communications professional based in Reno, Nevada. She has more than five years of professional marketing and communications experience working with clients in travel, food and beverage, CPG, finance, non-profit, higher education and politics. Her work has an emphasis on content writing, social media management, content and digital marketing.
- Allstate. “Does Car Insurance Cover Hitting a Deer?” Accessed January 19, 2021.
- Allstate. “If A Squirrel Chews Up Wires In Your Car, Are You Protected?” Accessed January 19, 2021.
- Insurance Information Institute. “Am I insured against asteroids, meteors and falling satellites?” Accessed January 19, 2021.
- Insurance Information Institute. “What is covered by collision and comprehensive auto insurance?” Accessed January 20, 2021.
- Progressive. “What does comprehensive insurance cover?” Accessed January 20, 2021.