You’ve just purchased a vehicle that has prior damage and you’re probably wondering, am I going to recover the cost to insure my vehicle with this existing damage? Well, the answer is no, as you’re not going to get any coverage for previous damage. There are reasons that is so and here are a few explanations why.
Any previous damage that happens with a vehicle is not going to be covered by car insurance. Say you have a truck with a severely crushed back fender, and you failed to make a claim for the damage when it occurred. Now you want to make a claim as you are selling the truck to a friend and want to repair the damage. Well, it’s too late, and you must pay for any repairs out of pocket. Car insurance coverage will not pay for any repairs or fender replacement at this stage.
When Damage is Covered
If the damage is present on your vehicle and you plan on selling it or passing on that vehicle to someone else, you must follow normal procedures with any kind of damage that occurs. If you want to qualify for coverage, you must report the damage at the time of the accident. Second, the damage has to have been an actual insurable occurrence, such as an accident with another vehicle.
Usually, when previous damage is insignificant or slight, some vehicle owners will not make a claim for minor damage such as a gash or small dent. Repairing the damage isn’t worth the time and trouble when the deductible costs are more than the repair. So, instead of doing the repairs, most people will simply drive their vehicle with the damage.
False Claims and Insurance Fraud
When a vehicle has damage from a previous accident and a policyholder attempts to claim coverage weeks following the accident, that scenario hints of insurance fraud. Maybe your vehicle had a tree limb fall on it in an area where tree limbs often fall and you lacked the right type coverage (comprehensive) to repair the damage done. That means you failed to purchase coverage for falling limbs and other objects. Instead of paying for the damage out of pocket, you quickly add comprehensive coverage to your policy. In the meantime, another tree limb in the same area falls on your vehicle. Now you make a claim. An insurer would consider this kind of action insurance fraud.
When a policy is new, you cannot claim any damage that came before the inception of the policy. It will not cover damages that you fail to report at the time of an incident.
In-depth Insurance Fraud
Insurance fraud can be even more in-depth when drivers create incidents and try to collect on claims under false pretenses. For example, maybe you’re trying to parallel park in a crammed parking spot and you jump the curb and badly scrape the side of your car and put a nice dent in it. Instead of notifying your insurance company, you wait a while and claim that someone ran into your vehicle and pushed it up over a curb and sidewalk while you were away from your vehicle. You then make it your intention to submit a claim for the earlier damage.
Can any Vehicle be Covered for Previous Damage?
When a vehicle exceeds damage limitations, there may be issues with coverage. If a vehicle has more than surface or cosmetic damage, there are questions whether the vehicle may be seriously impaired and actual driving made difficult if not impossible.
You might have a chance for liability coverage, and there is even less of a chance for collision and comprehensive coverage. With both collision and comprehensive insurance, you’re dealing with physical damage and insurance companies may not want to deal with those coverages for an already damaged vehicle.
With collision coverage, any previous damage usually negates coverage when a new accident occurs. An insurance company may have difficulty determining new accident-related damages from the old ones and deny coverage.
Even a non-accident related incident that falls under comprehensive coverage will not garner coverage because of previous damage to a vehicle. There may be issues with comprehensive coverage, just as there are with collision coverage. A claim faces denial because of the difficulty in recognizing previous damage from more current damage, despite a non-accident situation.
The Safe Way to Go
If you own a vehicle with previous or pre-existing damage, you are eligible for liability coverage. Most any registered vehicle that’s legal to drive on the road is eligible for minimum liability coverage. Even if your vehicle has previous damage, liability coverage is available. It covers costs you incur on other drivers and any property. You need to know, however, that you might need to go through a different insurance provider that deals in high-risk insurance, particularly when there’s considerable damage to your vehicle. Also, you’ll probably be ineligible for either collision or comprehensive coverage when your vehicle has significant prior damage.
Prior Damage Legalities
With prior damage concerning your vehicle, it’s important to be upfront with your insurance carrier. When any damage occurs, contact your provider as soon as possible. Your company will document the damage and a company representative will assess the damage and take pictures of any damage. Any future claims will show documentation of previous damage that you report. Remember that any existing damage will not be under coverage. There is no reason to worry about insurance fraud when you are forthcoming about reporting damage when it happens.
When insuring a vehicle that has prior damage, it’s important to remember that an insurance company is unlikely to cover damage that is already there. It’s best to report any damage right away that happens whether you make a claim. If you fail to report previous damage, you could face the consequences of insurance fraud. If you’re still questioning how to insure a vehicle that has previous damage, complete the online contact form and a representative will get back to you with the options available to you.