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, mainly in the insuranc...

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UPDATED: Oct 19, 2021

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Important facts to know...

  • The kind of coverage you have will determine if insurance covers the damages
  • The extent of damage and injuries can vary by accident
  • Premiums might go up after filing a claim

Hitting a telephone pole, or any sort of pole for that matter, can be catastrophic for both the driver and their vehicle. In order for insurance to cover the damages, you need to have the right insurance coverage on your policy.

Various forms of coverage may be needed based on the full extent of damage as well as any injuries that could have been sustained from the accident. It’s best to understand what those options are ahead of time. Understanding the limit of what your policy offers can save you from making poor choices while driving, especially if those choices put you at risk of being injured.

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What are the types of damages that can occur?

All sorts of damage can occur when you hit a pole. Whether it’s a telephone pole, electric pole, light post, utility pole, or any other stationary objects that exist, it could be enough to total your car, send you and passengers to the hospital, or cause serious damage.

Some of the most common types of damage include:

  • Damage to the front end of the car
  • Damage to the engine and other mechanical components
  • Broken windshield
  • Injuries to those inside the vehicle

There might be other types of damage, too, including any other vehicles that were affected. If you drove into a pole with enough force, it could have fallen down and landed on other objects.

These damages will be your responsibility as well.

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What types of coverage should you carry?

You need to have the right coverage in place on your insurance policy. Insurance will look at what you have before determining if they are going to pay for the damages as well as how much. You may think you need comprehensive coverage for these sorts of accidents, but it’s actually going to be collision coverage that you need.

Collision coverage is going to be required if you want insurance to cover hitting a pole. This type of coverage is responsible for taking care of your vehicle when you hit a vehicle as well as an object like a pole or a guardrail. Comprehensive coverage would only help if the thing that you hit was an animal of some sort.

To pay for the damage you did to other property, you need liability coverage. This coverage option is mandatory in most states.

The levels of coverage are also going to be taken into consideration. You are able to choose how much coverage you add to your liability. You could carry limits of $20,000, $50,000 or more.

Often, you won’t pay too much more on monthly premiums to double or even triple your coverage. It’s helpful to get online quotes. You can learn what your financial responsibility would be to get higher levels of coverage.

The insurance will only pay up to what you have in place. If you cause $50,000 worth of damage and you only have $30,000 worth of coverage on your policy, the other $20,000 would be your financial responsibility.

The only way to avoid paying out-of-pocket (beyond the deductible) is if you have a personal umbrella policy in place.

If you have injuries (or anyone in the car has them), you need to have coverage for these as well. It’s good to have medical payments coverage. In some states, this is required.

In other states, you can choose to add it to your policy. Either way, it’s a good thing to have so that you are not financially responsible for all of the medical bills out-of-pocket.

Additionally, medical payments coverage might also cover you for lost wages until you are on the mend.

Due to all of what can happen when you hit a pole, you need to take a close look at the coverage you opt for on an auto insurance policy, and what sort of policy limits you have as well.

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How do you go about filing a claim?

You will want to file a claim with the auto insurance company as soon as possible. This claim will let them know that an accident has taken place. It will also allow you to get the claims process started.

Depending on the individual scenario, you might be required to take your car to a collision center or a body shop. An adjuster from the insurance company will take a look at the car and assess the damages.

This assessment will allow you to learn the full cost of repairs. If you have sufficient coverage, you will only pay the deductible and place them on your policy. The insurance company will then cover everything else.

If you have medical injuries, this will need to be handled by insurance as well. You might need to submit hospital bills or provide additional information as required by the insurance company.

Will my premiums go up?

The major reason why you might not want to report the accident is because you don’t want your premium going up.

Insurance companies are going to look at why the accident occurred. Hitting a pole may have been the result of one of the following:

  • Black ice
  • Avoiding an accident
  • Poor visibility
  • DUI

It’s important to know that if you have sufficient coverage in place on your policy. The insurance company will pay for the damages even if it is your fault.

The why will be examined, however. If you have had many similar accidents or you were driving under the influence, it is going to cost you more on your premiums in most instances. However, you want to remain truthful at all times, because no matter what you say or do, you don’t want to end up with a marred driving record for very long. If it wasn’t your fault, that’s one side of the coin. If it was your fault and you didn’t tell the truth, there could be consequences.

There might also be a medical condition that caused you to get into the accident (such as epilepsy, diabetes, or narcolepsy). In these instances, you might have your license revoked.

You might also be required by law to have an SR-22 certificate in place. This certificate will drive up the cost of insurance and you will often be required to have this for three years before it is removed by the state.

Ultimately, hitting a pole is covered by insurance if you have sufficient coverage. It’s important to have collision coverage in addition to liability on your policy.

You might also want to consider increasing the levels and obtaining medical payment coverage so that you have a greater level of financial protection in place.

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