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Perhaps you were backing up at the bank and forgot about the nearby pole or maybe you pulled into the fast food drive-thru lane at the wrong angle. Worse yet, maybe you spun out on some ice and hit a utility pole near the road.
Whatever the case, your vehicle now has damage from losing a battle with a pole. Now what? With the right insurance coverage and a little knowledge about what to do next, you don’t have to worry.
Compare car insurance quotes right here by using our free rate tool above.
Auto Insurance Coverage Basics
An auto insurance policy will generally have two or more types of coverages on it. Your auto insurance policy is like several smaller policies all rolled into one to cover your vehicle under several different circumstances.
For instance, having your vehicle stolen, hitting a pole, and rear-ending the truck in front of you are all situations that would require claims under different parts of your auto insurance policy.
Here are the most common coverages that drivers include on their auto insurance policies:
This type of insurance is the minimum amount of coverage required by law in almost every state. Property liability covers damages you cause to another vehicle or property that belongs to someone else.
Bodily injury liability covers physical damages that they incur due to an accident that you caused. It is important to note that liability does not cover damages to your property or any physical harm you suffer.
If you hit a pole enough to damage it, then the owner of the pole can file a property liability claim on your insurance coverage to pay for their damages.
Also sometimes referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or simply Med Pay, this coverage is legally required in many states. It is in place to pay for your medical expenses, no matter who is at fault for the accident.
Each driver will claim their medical expenses under their own policy.
Med Pay will also cover funeral expenses and sometimes hired help around the house such as housekeeping and for missed time off of work. If you hit a pole and are injured, you can file a claim under your med pay policy for your injuries.
Collison coverage is not legally required in any state. However, if your vehicle is leased or financed, you are likely contractually required to have it on your auto insurance policy.
Having collision coverage can protect you from financial ruin if you still owe money on your vehicle.
This coverage pays for damages to your vehicle that happened due to something hitting your car or your car hitting something, including:
- other cars
If you have elected this coverage, you can file a claim with your auto insurance if you have hit a pole. Keep in mind that this coverage type will require you to pay your deductible in order to have repairs made to your vehicle.
After you have paid your deductible, your insurance carrier will pay for the repairs up to your coverage limits.
Comprehensive is similar to collision coverage in that it is also optional if you own your vehicle outright and requires a deductible to be paid. However, it is different because it covers other circumstances that may damage your vehicle.
Situations that can warrant a comprehensive coverage claim with your auto insurance carrier include:
- hitting wildlife
- natural disasters
Filing a Collision Claim
In order to get your vehicle repaired under your collision coverage, you will first need to file a claim with your insurance carrier. This usually does not take very much time and is simple to do.
After hitting a pole, you should first make sure you are physically okay and that there was no one else involved. If anyone has been injured, they should seek medical care immediately.
Once it has been determined that everyone is okay or medical care has been sought, move your vehicle to a safe place if you are able.
You will want to notify your insurance company as soon as possible after the incident, just as you would with any other type of accident. You can do this by calling the number on your insurance card or some insurance companies allow you to fill out a claim form online.
In general, you will need to know the following information in order to complete your claim:
- The location of the incident
- Time of the incident
- The names, contact, and insurance information for any other parties that may be involved
- Circumstances surrounding the incident such as weather conditions and what you were doing
- If anyone sought medical treatment
- If the police came to the scene, the case number you were assigned
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The next step is to get your vehicle repaired.
Car insurance carriers are not legally allowed to dictate where you can or cannot get your car repaired.
You can do this at any location you choose, however, your auto insurance company is only required to pay what it believes is the fair market value for the repairs.
You will also need to pay your deductible amount directly to the auto body shop when the work has been completed. You can get several quotes or even ask your insurance company who they recommend.
Property Damage Repairs
If damage was done to the pole when you hit it, the party that owns the pole can file a property liability claim with your insurance company. That party will have the necessary repairs made and your car insurance company will pay for the repairs up to your policy amount.
While you will not be directly involved in this process, you may, depending on your insurance company, see your auto insurance rates go up because of the claims.
To keep your auto insurance affordable, you may want to do some comparison shopping with an online price comparison tool prior to the date your auto insurance will renew.
Medical Payments and Bodily Injury Liablity
If anyone was injured when you hit the pole with your vehicle, they should seek medical care as soon as possible. You and any of your passengers can file claims for the medical care received under your medical payments policy.
Some healthcare providers will even file the claim directly with the auto insurance company so that you do not have to pay anything up front.
If another party not in your vehicle was injured as a result of you hitting a pole, they can file a bodily injury liability claim with your insurance carrier to get their medical care covered.
Affording the Auto Insurance Coverage You Need and Want
While auto insurance coverage can be confusing, having the right types of coverage can protect you in many different types of situations. You can afford more coverage when you stretch your hard-earned dollar further by comparison shopping for auto insurance.
Using an online price comparison tool allows you to view several different insurance policies and quotes all at one time. You can then select the coverages, policies, and price tag that fits your budget and your needs.
Other ways to save money on auto insurance include:
- Asking for available discounts such as good driver, alumni, multi-vehicle, multi-policy, and veteran
- Paying for your policy up front
- Using automatic withdrawals to pay for your policy
- Increasing your deductibles
- Decreasing your coverage amounts or types
If you have hit and pole, yet have collision coverage in place, you will be covered. Being informed about the different types of insurance coverages and the specific situations they apply to will allow you to make the best decisions for your financial and driving situations.
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