Will Auto Insurance Companies Cover Rust Damage?
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As a car owner, there will be a lot of things you will need to protect your vehicle from. There are a variety of insurance packages you can opt for, but not all of them will give you what you need. Now, a very common physical damage caused to cars is rusting. But will your insurance coverage pay for the damage?
Depends on How the Damage Occurred
Most auto insurance companies do not cover rust damage unless it is caused by an accident or a reason other than a collision that is listed in the policy. Rust damage is typically treated as general wear and tear and is not insured against. Most insurance coverages will treat it as weather damage that has taken place over the years and does not qualify for a claim. When you get physical damage coverage, it protects the body of your car from several things, but rust caused by general wear and tear is not one of them.
But if it’s for another reason, there may be a clause in your physical damage policy you can apply:
Physical Damage Coverage
If you have physical damage coverage, there are a few things you can be insured against. There are two ways in which this works:
Comprehensive coverage may be the clause under which you may find some aid. This kind of coverage protects you from damage done to your vehicle from things other than a collision. This includes car theft, vandalism, a car fire, hurricanes, and even if you hit a deer by accident on the highway. If the rust damage on your car is from reasons other than general wear and tear, for example, from flood damage, you may be liable to file a claim under comprehensive coverage.
This type of coverage protects you from any physical damage done to your car from hitting another vehicle or an inanimate object by accident. If the rust damage caused to your car is a direct result of an accident, you may be able to file a valid claim.
If going the standard insurance route is not working out and your claim is rejected, what are the alternatives you can look for? The following are some options you could consider:
Is Your Car Still Under Warranty?
If your insurance company has rejected the claim but your car is fairly new, check if it is still under warranty. If you bought it from an authorized dealership, it is probably still under guarantee. If the car began to develop rust damage while under the dealership’s guarantee period, you can use that route to get the damage repaired.
While waiting for your insurance to clear may be a hectic process, checking out the warranty is less complicated – provided you have caught the damage in time.
Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
You could also look at buying special insurance for your car. If you are already worried about rust damage, you can look at buying mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) for your car. This is the kind of insurance that deals with corrosion and other mechanical and maintenance-related problems. But MBI will not cover all kinds of rust damage. If the damage is from general wear and tear, your claim may still not be entertained. But if the damage is caused by agents in the environment that sped up the process of rusting, you may be in better luck.
Weigh the Pros and Cons
Most importantly, it is up to you to measure the pros and cons if it does come down to paying for the damage yourself. First, assess the extent of the damage. If repairing the damage is going to cost you nearly as much as buying a new car, the answer is crystal clear. But if even after repairing the damage you can get a few good years of use from the vehicle, then that is an expense you can consider bearing.
You should also see which part of the car needs repairing and if it does not cause any structural damage, perhaps you could lay off the repairs until you can afford an upgrade on your car. Ideally, the sooner you can catch the damage, the easier it is to treat it. But the problem with rust damage is that it happens gradually over the years and cannot be caught easily.
Since rust damage is so seemingly hard to get insured against, you are better off trying to prevent it instead of repairing it once the damage has already been done. Take as many preventive measures as you can to save the body from rusting.
Take into account the climate you are living and driving in and use protective measures accordingly. If you live in a coastal area like NYC, you may want to get a protective paint job or at least park the car somewhere indoors in the rain. You should also carry out regular inspection of your car to ensure you catch the damage well in time and before it is too late. Losing money over rust damage is entirely preventable!