The Top 10 Most Common Car Insurance Claims

This list of the top 10 most common car insurance claims can help give you an idea of what it’s like to file an insurance claim. The most common auto insurance claims include neck and back injuries, damaged windshields, car theft, animal collisions, loss of wages, emotional pain, and more. However you choose to deal with insured damages is a personal choice, but realize your car insurance rates will increase with each claim you make. Keep rates low after a car insurance claim by comparison shopping online with our free tool below.

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UPDATED: Jun 29, 2021

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Written By: Tonya SislerReviewed By: Brad LarsenUPDATED: Jun 29, 2021Fact Checked

Car insurance is a valuable asset to have in the event of a car accident but when do policyholders actually file a claim? While many drivers only file a claim to have their vehicle fixed there are many other types of claims ranging from a neck injury to loss of wages that can be filed under a car insurance policy.

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Having car insurance is great and anytime damages fall under your car insurance coverage it’s certainly worth considering filing an insurance claim however it’s important to always consider what effect a car insurance claim will have on your future car insurance rates and evaluate whether or not the damages exceed your deductible. Sometimes the damage is so minor you may want to simply pay the expenses out of pocket while other times the risk of potential liability is so great you prefer to have a claim on file. However, you choose to deal with insured damages is a personal choice but careful consideration should go into whether or not you want a claim on record. Auto insurance companies are “for-profit” companies and anytime a claim is filed, the risk of higher car insurance rates is increased.

What are the most common car insurance claims?

#1 Minor Accidents

Minor car accidents make up the bulk of car insurance claims and often involve no personal injuries but just vehicle damage. No matter how small your claim is however car insurance companies will often increase your rates.

#2 Neck Injury

Many car accident attorneys have purchased nice homes from the settlements won from a neck injury. The most common street term is “whiplash” and it’s not uncommon to be served after a car accident due to someone’s neck being hurt.

#3 Back Injuries

After neck injuries, the most common claim submitted after a car accident is back injuries. Since your back and neck often are the recipient of the most force during a car accident it’s very common to have back injuries from a car accident… and with a good attorney, it’s quite possible your back hurts a lot more than you think it does.

#4 Damaged Windshield

Windshields are always susceptible to damage and even the smallest crack can pose a significant risk in the event of an accident. Many car insurance companies recognize the threat of additional risk exposure to people inside a vehicle with a cracked windshield and rarely penalize you for submitting a claim to get a windshield fixed. However, the windshield deductible is quite high so regardless of the greater risk associated with a cracked windshield you will probably have to pay for most of the cost of a new one anyway.

#5 Car Theft

Even with car insurance companies providing discounts for anti-theft systems and manufacturers introducing more sophisticated anti-theft devices vehicles still get stolen and broken into. Most personal contents are not covered but claims are still filed every day for vehicles lost due to car theft. The good news is that car insurance companies will often penalize you with higher rates in the future since you filed the claim… while the thieve cruises down Hollywood Boulevard in your new convertible.

#6 Vandalism

Vandalism is alive and well and some people with spray paint view your car as a fresh canvas their new masterpiece. From having your car keyed to having a nice four-letter word spray-painted on the side of your car (in not-so-nice matching colors) car vandalism claims make up a nice percentage of car insurance claims. The great thing about vandalism however is car insurance companies treat all residents of the zip code equally and the higher the vandalism claims the higher the risk of that particular zip code. Who said life isn’t fair… now if the vandals would only ever buy car insurance?

#7 Animal Collisions

In some areas, there are people killed every day by collisions with animals. While Moose and Deer are beautiful creatures they also have yet to learn how to collide with a car and not cause serious damage. Partly we are to blame for not enrolling Bambi or Bullwinkle in a defensive driving school but regardless of their flaws animal collisions are serious and often result in serious injuries including death.

#8 Rental Car Reimbursement

When your car needs to be fixed you can’t be expected to hike to work. Rental car reimbursement claims are often made by policyholders who need to leave their car for some TLC at the body shop. What’s really cool about rental car reimbursement coverage is you rarely have to show receipts to get it as most auto insurance policies provide a fixed daily rate which is automatically issued…. the even cooler thing is car insurance companies rarely pay enough for you to rent a car… Well, maybe a moped.

#9 Loss of Wages

Yes, people still claim loss of wages under car insurance, and while it’s completely normal to make a claim for wages lost always make sure to read the fine print. If you happen to be involved in a minor accident and are the type of person who packs up and leaves at 5 o’clock and religiously takes an hour for lunch (even while sitting at your desk) odds are you are not going to get reimbursed for that $12.15 you lost for driving to the vehicle repair shop.

# 10 Emotional Pain

While its true some attorneys will claim a policyholder “is awoken by giant sharks eating her legs after a vehicle was hit by a shopping cart in the mall parking lot” many emotional injury claims are very real and some of the most expensive settlements by car insurance companies are to people injured in serious car accidents. While the frequency of the claims is much less than vehicle damage the substantial amounts involved are extraordinary. This is also where a lot of insurance fraud cases start so don’t just call your lawyer and expect to get a windfall overnight. Insurance fraud is serious and the only thing you could be thinking about one day is how to get out of the orange jumpsuit and go home.

Car insurance is a very important asset to have but you also need to make sure you have the right type of insurance so always start with understanding the basics of auto insurance and choose a policy that provides all the coverage you need.

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Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about car insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything car insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by car insurance experts.

Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Written by Tonya Sisler
Insurance Writer Tonya Sisler

Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Brad Larsen

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