Does auto insurance cover road debris?

Auto insurance covers road debris damage under comprehensive coverage plans, which are bought in addition to the minimum coverage required. If you hit a rock on the road, debris from a tuck hits your car, or you have other road debris accidents, your car insurance will cover road debris damage as long as you have the right coverage.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

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 CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Mar 11, 2022

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Of the many things that can happen to your car while driving, damage from road debris is among the most annoying. If you ever hit a rock on the road or any other debris lying around that causes damage to your car, you may ask this question: does auto insurance cover road debris?

Understanding auto insurance and your insurance policy is imperative in order to find a company that covers you fully. Before learning if car insurance covers road debris damage, type your ZIP code into our free tool above to find information on reasonable insurance rates in your area.

Auto Insurance Road Debris Coverage

It can be difficult to know what is covered by your insurance company, including damages to your car by road debris. If you’re in a situation where you need coverage for road debris damages, it’s helpful to know what is considered road debris and if your car insurance provider covers road debris damage.

Will Basic Auto Insurance Cover Road Debris?

In short, basic coverage will not cover road debris damage. In most cases, liability coverage is the minimum insurance requirement, covering you in the case of an accident in which you’re at fault.

However, you have the option of purchasing comprehensive coverage, which is more inclusive and covers general liabilities as well as random accidental damage to your car. As road debris can be anything on the side of the road or any object that falls off of another car (i.e. rocks, branches, car parts, etc.), damages caused by road debris are most likely covered by comprehensive insurance.

Here’s a look at average comprehensive rates by state.

Average Annual U.S. Comprehensive Auto Insurance Rates by State
StatesAverage Annual
Comprehensive Insurance Rates
New Hampshire$103.03
New Jersey$123.18
Rhode Island$122.17
North Carolina$123.00
New York$156.66
New Mexico$166.89
South Carolina$165.38
West Virginia$195.04
North Dakota$227.64
District of Columbia$230.25
South Dakota$228.59
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If you’re not sure whether your insurance policy covers road debris damage, ask your insurance provider for the details on your current coverage plan.

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Road Debris Laws

In road debris accidents, it can be hard to determine if your damages will be insured or not; and, the deciding factor is often whether the damage was avoidable or unavoidable. Understandably, avoidable road debris is any object on the side of the road that can be driven around, and unavoidable road debris includes objects that fall off of another vehicle.

This clarification allows insurance companies to decide if/how they can cover the road debris damage to your car, and answers two important questions: who is responsible for road debris damage and is hitting road debris an at-fault accident?

Responsibility for road debris damage hinges on the ‘negligence’ of the driver. In order for a driver to succeed on a road debris accident negligence claim, it must be proven that someone else breached a duty of care and that the breach caused the damages. Negligent parties apart from the driver in a road debris accident include a government agency (i.e. one responsible for road maintenance) or a private party (i.e. a trucking company responsible for safe/secure cargo transport).

So, if debris from a truck hits your car, then it’s very likely the trucking company is at fault.

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Insurance Claims for Road Debris

Accidents involving road debris introduce unique issues regarding liability.

If a driver makes a negligence claim against a private party, it’ll require extensive examination of the facts of the accident prior to deciding whether the individual or a company is liable.

A claim against the government, however, is more difficult as the process and compliance rules are much more strict. A “notice of claim” is to be filed within a certain period of time after the accident, which is usually 60 days. Outside of that time, the plaintiff can throw out any reason for trial. Even if the claim makes it to a trial, there’s a good chance it will still be lost due to the government’s sovereign immunity against some negligence claims.

How do I file a claim for road debris damage?

The first step after being involved in an accident, including one caused by road debris, is to contact your insurance provider to notify the claims representative of the accident. Depending on your policy, you may be covered, so it’s always a good idea to reach out to your insurance company. Contacting your provider may also keep your rates from increasing due to a road debris accident.

An accident claims worksheet makes the process easier by including information you’ll need when filing a claim.

Tips to Avoid Hitting Road Debris

To prevent hitting road debris, it’s best to not tailgate other cars and to keep an eye on the road around you so that you can reduce your speed and safely drive around the road debris.

Ready to find insurance that will cover you for road debris damage? Enter your ZIP code below to compare quotes.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Does auto insurance cover road debris?

Here are a few more common related questions and answers.

#1 – Does insurance cover an oil pan?

Oil pan leaks may be covered under collision coverage if your insurance provider finds you to not be negligent in any way.

#2 – Does auto insurance cover hitting a wall?

Yes, hitting a wall is usually covered under collision coverage.

#3 – Does insurance cover road damage differently depending on the company?

It may, but the definition should be the same across companies in most cases. Geico road hazard insurance will likely cover the same things as Allstate road debris coverage.


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