The body of your car, truck, SUV, or van is made out of metal. When metal is exposed to wet, cold climates, it can rust over time. Advances have been made in materials that are used to manufacture vehicles, including carbon fiber. The carbon fiber helps to prevent corrosion, but it is impossible to make a vehicle that is immune to rust. There are some steps that you can take to help to prevent rust from forming on your car. You should regularly wash your vehicle and avoid driving it through water puddles if you live in an area that salts the roads. While taking proactive steps can help you to extend your vehicle’s life, there is no guarantee that your vehicle will not rust. Here is what Elmer’s Auto Body believes that you should know about rust and your automobile insurance policy.
What causes rust to form on vehicles?
Most cars contain some parts that are built out of metal. If you live in a wet climate, rust can easily develop. Corrosion and rust can result from rain, snow, and humidity. Corrosive elements are widespread. If you live near the coast, your car is at risk of rusting much faster than the average. Exposing cars to water places them at risk for rust. When the water is salt water, the process speeds up. The ocean is made out of saltwater, making it understandable that you can see many rusty cars along the coasts.
People who live in snowy areas also may have a higher risk of rust. In many areas, cities salt the roads to melt the snow. This means that you can live away from the coast and still have your vehicle suffer rust from the salt on the roads.
Understanding full coverage auto insurance policies
Some people have the mistaken belief that their full coverage auto insurance policies will cover every hazard. However, full coverage auto insurance policies cover only the physical damage that is caused by the perils that are specifically covered under the policies. Most auto insurance policies contain exclusions for the types of perils and damage that will not be covered.
If you have full coverage auto insurance with comprehension and collision coverage, your insurance company will pay for vehicle repairs or vehicle replacements if your car is declared to be a total loss. You will be covered if you are involved in a car accident, including when your vehicle is damaged while it is parked.
Damage to your vehicle that occurs over time, including rust that develops, will not be covered by your full coverage auto insurance policy. This is because rust is considered to be normal wear and tear, which all insurance companies specifically exclude from their full coverage policies.
Do auto insurance policies pay if you are in an accident that was caused by rust?
While your policy will not pay to repair a rusted automobile part, you might wonder if your coverage will pay for incidents in which a part falls off of your car while you are driving because of rust. You can see that rust is developing when the metal begins going through oxidation. Oxidated metal is weaker and can cause bumpers or other parts to fall away from the vehicle. If your vehicle is rusted, a falling part can cause an accident that can harm someone else.
If a driver knows that his or her vehicle is so rusty that it is no longer safe to drive, he or she may not have a covered claim for damages. Drivers who do not know that the rust is present may still have liability coverage, however.
Why do insurance companies total cars after flood claims are filed?
Flood claims are sometimes filed when someone drives into water running across the road, storms flood a neighborhood, or a vehicle rolls into a lake because of a faulty emergency brake. If your vehicle is immersed in water, your insurance company will likely declare that your car is a total loss no matter what it looks like after it has dried.
Water damage can leave a vehicle susceptible to rusting. This means that an insurance company will likely total the car after a flood claim. You can talk to your insurance company if you have submitted a flood claim to find out how the company might handle it.
How to prevent your vehicle from rusting in the future
Since you now know that you will be unable to file a claim with your insurance company to complete rust repairs, you should take proactive measures to preserve the life of your car’s metal parts. Here are some things that you can do to help to prevent rust from forming:
- Take your car to the car wash after driving it in the winter
- Regularly wash your vehicle’s undercarriage
- Store your car in a garage
- Try to avoid driving through water on the roadway
- Keep the paint on your vehicle maintained
- Wax your vehicle
- Repair any paint chips or bubbles as soon as possible
Self-insuring for rust
Self-insuring refers to putting money back to pay for repairs that you might need. This can be a good idea because repairing rust on your vehicle is not cheap. Depending on its size and location, removing a patch of rust could cost you from $500 to $1,000.
You can self-insure against rust by saving a small sum of money each month for emergency repairs. If you need to pay for rust repair, you will have the money available in your savings.
While auto insurance is important, it will not help you in every situation. You should read your policy so that you understand the exclusions that are contained in your contract with the insurance company.
Contact Elmer’s Auto Body
If you notice that rust is developing on your vehicle, you should take action quickly to prevent it from spreading. Elmer’s Auto Body has been a trusted auto body repair provider in South Jersey for more than 70 years. Contact us today to learn how we can help you by filling out our online contact form or calling one of our three convenient locations.