Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Jun 4, 2019

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Have you ever wondered what car insurance loss is? Some people think it’s the complete loss of the use of your car, which is partially true. Car insurance loss is any loss incurred due to damage to your car, which causes you to make a claim on your insurance.

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A car insurance loss can take many forms both in the physical and medical sense. The physical sense can occur when your car in involved in a collision or because of a freak accident totally beyond your control.

Windshield Damage

Windshield damage is mainly damage to your windshield from flying objects. The most common is road debris in the form of rocks that are kicked up from vehicles in front of you or from cars passing by. Other common ways that windshields are damaged are because of items that fly out of the back of vehicles that have not been secured properly or due to hail damage.

How involved the repair will be is determined by the location, size of the damage, and your state’s laws.

When you go to replace your windshield, check out the CarWindshields.info website. They have information on each state’s rules about windshield replacement.

Call your local agent to determine the extent of your coverage if the damage is extensive and you need to replace your windshield. Some policies include windshield coverage with no deductible while others require that your deductible be applied first and then they will cover any leftover expense.

Replacement cost of a windshield can easily run several hundred dollars. Be sure to shop around for the best price. Some companies only use original manufacturers’ parts while others use parts that are just as good, but are less expensive.

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Vandalism Loss

Accidental vandalism takes the form of someone accidentally nicking your car’s paint job while in a parking lot. Malicious vandalism takes the form of a deliberate act of damaging your car. Generally, this kind of damage occurs by someone scratching up the paint job with a key or a knife or using spray paint to leave a message that destroys the car’s appearance.

Whether the vandalism is accidental or malicious, the damage will still cost you money.

Repairing this kind of loss involves going to a body shop for a new paint job. Depending on the quality of work you want done; it could cost you anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars to have your car repainted and brought back to its original condition.

Wildlife Damage

When animals and cars come into contact, the damages can really add up. According to a New York Times article, wildlife-vehicle collisions are on the rise as there are more cars on roads that were once forests. These types of accidents happen primarily in areas that are more rural after the sun sets.

Hitting a deer is the most common occurrence of a wildlife collision but is not the only kind of wildlife accident. Depending on where you live collisions with moose, elk, or bears may become a major issue. Even hitting smaller animals can cost you lots of money.

Make sure that the lights on your car are clean and brighttype of accident, you have the damage to the vehicle, the cost involved in disposing of the injured or possibly dead animal, and any injuries you may have sustained because of the collision. Your best defense against this kind of damage is:

  • Only drive while you are alert so you have time to respond to any movement you may notice on the roadside
  • Slow down in posted areas

Theft Damage

According to Wiserdriver.com, every 25.5 seconds a car is stolen in America. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Institute notes that 737,142 cars were stolen in 2010 at an estimated value of 4.5 billion dollars.

Car loss is easy to recognize when it involves theft because you find your car is missing!

Some cars are stolen and recovered with little to any real damage to the car. Others are stolen, totaled, and abandoned. Many cars are stolen and dismantled for the parts because the parts are worth more than the whole car.

The best insurance against car theft is to use the latest anti-theft devices. An article at CNN Money.com notes that the decline in vehicle theft in recent years can be tracked to people using anti-theft equipment in their cars.

One of the easiest ways to prevent this kind of damage is to always lock your car. Other ways include using tracking software on your car, such as OnStar or Lojack. Anti-theft devices such as license plate readers and automatic door alarms are also very effective methods to prevent someone from stealing your car.

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Uninsured Motorist Damage

As the economy continues to struggle, more and more people are risking driving without insurance because they cannot make their premium payments. This means that should you be involved in an accident with someone who has no insurance; you are going to be left picking up the bill. Most times trying to recover this amount from the uninsured motorist will be an uphill battle because if they had money, they wouldn’t be driving around uninsured in the first place.

Another type of damage that is covered under the uninsured motorist umbrella is hit and run accidents. According to Insurance Information Institute, during the years between 2003 and 2006 one in eight accidents were hit and run. Due to the nature of this kind of damage, the victim is left paying all the expenses involved in the accident because the driver cannot be identified.

Severe Weather Damage

Severe weather causes billions of dollars worth of damage to automobiles every year. Tornados, hurricanes, snowstorms, wildfires, and flooding all too often arrive without warning causing extensive damage to your car.

Flood damage to cars takes many forms, and the damage cannot always be determined at first glance. Flooding causes water damage to the interior in the form of mold and smelly waterlogged seats and carpets that must be removed. Damage to the undercarriage can take the form of corroded brakes and damage to fuel lines and exhaust system.

Water in the engine can corrode the battery, short-circuit the wiring, make the belts slip or break, and clog filters. With newer cars, it destroys the electronic modules that are located low within the engine compartment. These modules are essentially the brain of your car controlling everything from your power windows and brakes to your airbags and suspension. The replacement cost for these modules can run into thousands of dollars.

Restoration of flood-damaged cars can run into the thousands of dollars, sometimes costing more than the value of the car. Working with your local agent is the best way to get your car repaired or have it declared totaled and have you in a replacement car as soon as possible.

Tornadoes and hurricanes usually cause the complete destruction of your car if it is in their path. Tornados pick up a car and sometimes leave it miles from its original location as a mangled mass of metal. They also bring hail that can destroy a car in minutes if it is not protected by a garage or carport. Hurricanes can cause both flood damage and physical damage to your car.

Snowstorms and wildfires are common, severe weather problems that cause huge car insurance losses according to wunderground.com. Heavy snowfall and falling temperatures are the perfect ingredients to cause massive destruction to cars as they slip and slide into one another or go flying off the road. Wildfires eat up everything in their path with sometimes changing course without warning. They are known for causing destruction to both homes and cars.

Medical Injury Loss

One component of car insurance loss is the cost of any injuries you may incur during an accident that you may need treatment for. Even small accidents can lead to lingering injuries that add up to thousands of dollars in medical bills.

Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may have the cost of ambulance care, doctors, nurses, CT scans, tests, and surgical expenses. If your injuries are serious enough, you may need to be airlifted by helicopter to a trauma hospital. Add to this any hospitalization costs and physical therapy needed after your release from the hospital.

With the cost of health care skyrocketing, medical expenses may way outweigh any damage to your car.

The other large medical related loss is your loss of income when you are unable to work due to your injuries. In situations like this, it’s important to have a good health insurance plan or medical payments insurance along with PIP coverage, otherwise known as personal injury protection to cover these expenses.

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Collision Loss

The most obvious car insurance loss is the loss of your car from a collision with another vehicle. Each year hundreds of thousands of accidents occur on our highways. These losses add up to billions of dollars worth of damages.

All the physical damage to your car amounts to car insurance loss. It may be as simple as damage to your taillights and bumper or destruction of your car. If you are involved in an accident, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to get the process of filing a claim started. Your local agent will tell you exactly what you need to do.

The most important thing to know during a car insurance loss is if you are covered.

Contact your local agent to get a copy of your policy and then read it. Have them explain anything that you do not understand and ask about additional coverage if you find that your policy doesn’t cover what you thought it did.

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