Is a broken side mirror covered by car insurance?

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Jeffrey Johnson

Insurance Lawyer

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Feb 11, 2021

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We’ve all been there. The kids are screaming they’re going to be late for school so you back out of the garage faster than usual and misjudge the clearance on the side. BAM! The sideview mirror is now dangling by wires on the side of your car.

So the obvious question would be is breaking off the sideview mirror covered under your auto insurance policy. The first thing we have to look at is the coverages you are paying for.

Your policy starts with a Declarations page which tells you which vehicles are insured, which coverages they are insured for, and what the limits of those coverages are.

It also lists drivers that are covered by the policy and the premium amounts charged for each individual coverage.

Breaking a mirror by colliding with your garage door frame would fall under the physical damage coverage called collision. This coverage kicks in when you hit another vehicle or object with your vehicle, with the exception of hitting a bird or animal. Those incidents would fall under the ‘other than collision’ or comprehensive coverage.

So if you have collision coverage on the vehicle you bashed into the side of the garage, you’ve passed the first hurdle.

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Next, we need to look at the other conditions of the policy to see if this is indeed a covered claim. Because obviously, just because we say it’s covered doesn’t mean your insurance company would agree.

Your policy is broken down into different sections depending on the coverage, and the insuring agreement for physical damage coverage starts like this:

We will pay for direct and accidental loss to “your covered auto” or any “non-owned auto”, including their equipment, minus any applicable deductible shown in the Declarations.

Ok, so breaking the mirror is definitely a direct loss, and it was also accidental. You were driving “your covered auto” because you own it and we verified that it does indeed have collision coverage.

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A little farther in the policy are the exclusions that list a bunch of things that insurance will not pay for. These are things like losses from wear and tear, freezing, mechanical breakdown, or radioactive contamination. Yes, seriously. If your car is contaminated from your neighborhood nuclear power plant, you are not covered.

There is nothing in the exclusions that would apply to this claim, so you can expect your insurance company to joyfully pay the claim.

claim paid

There is one catch, however. Remember above where it said “minus any applicable deductible shown in the Declarations”? The claim amount paid will be less whatever your collision deductible is. So if the cost to replace and repaint the mirror, along with any scratches in the door, is greater than your deductible, you will receive a check from your company for the difference.

The last consideration would be if the damage was say $600 and you have a $500 deductible. Sure you would get $100 from your company, but you would also have a claim on your record. If your company gives a discount for being claim-free, you would lose this discount and could possibly end up costing yourself more in the long run.

So take this into consideration when filing any claim, as it’s usually better to remain claim-free than to get a little money from your car insurance company. Make sure you’re adequately covered by using our FREE tool to compare now!

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