When you get car insurance, you expect it to protect you against costly damages. And for the most part, you can rest easy — the average basic policy does just that.
Car insurance provides comprehensive coverage for at-fault collisions and accidents that result in property damage or personal injury. But every policy has its limits, and yours won’t cover everything. Here are five things a basic policy won’t cover.
1. Routine Maintenance
Your insurance policy won’t cover individual maintenance tasks, comprehensive tune-ups, or seasonal tire exchanges. These routine chores are your financial responsibility.
Since these tasks keep your vehicle running in peak condition, you don’t want to ignore them for too long. Most mechanics recommend a semi-annual tune-up that includes the usual jobs, like a front-to-bumper inspection, tire rotation, and oil change.
Of course, you may need to bring in your car for tune-ups more frequently depending on the condition of your car and your commute. Keep this in mind when building out a maintenance budget.
According to Kelley’s Blue Book, the average tune-up can range between $40 and $150. Beyond more frequent oil changes and wiper fluid top-ups, you should save at least $300 for the year’s maintenance.
2. Unexpected Wear and Tear
Regular upkeep helps your mechanic catch small problems with your vehicle before they get too bad. Unfortunately, preventative maintenance isn’t perfect — even the pros can miss things and your vehicle can suffer from truly unforeseeable issues.
The AAA recommends savings of $50 a month to help you afford unexpected repairs with your routine maintenance. If that’s not enough, you can contact financial institutions and online direct lenders to try to help you get money when needed. You just have to make sure you qualify for their personal loans online and apply. If approved, you can use an online loan to help out in emergencies when you don’t have the savings to cover unexpected issues.
3. Intentional Damage
Who would purposefully damage their own car? Well, some ill-advised drivers think they can smash up their vehicle to get a payout from their insurance company. Unfortunately, this can backfire if you’re caught, as this is insurance fraud. Insurance fraud can blackball you from basic auto insurance from the big insurers, so you want to keep your record clean.
4. Theft of Belongings Left Inside Your Vehicle
While most basic policies will cover damages from theft (or attempted theft) of your vehicle, things change when it comes to the belongings you keep inside your car. If a thief manages to steal your laptop, wallet, or something else valuable, your insurer won’t cover these belongings.
You might have better luck getting coverage for these stolen items through your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy.
To be on the safe side, don’t leave your belongings in your vehicle when you aren’t in it. It doesn’t matter if you park in a crowded area or private spot, or if you plan on only being away from your vehicle for a few minutes. Check out these tips to deter auto thieves, too!
Bottom Line: Know Your Policy
Take a moment to read what your insurance covers — coverage varies from policy to policy. By brushing up on this fine print, you know exactly what your policy provides. This way, you won’t be surprised to have to pay out-of-pocket (or with a personal loan) for maintenance, repairs, or theft.