Does car insurance cover road debris?

More than 25,000 car accidents are caused by road debris every year. Car damage from road debris can be frustrating. Your auto insurance covers if you hit debris on a highway, but your rates might increase.

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UPDATED: Jun 2, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: Jun 2, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • Road debris is typically covered by car insurance, minus your deductible
  • Whether the road hazard is airborne or on the ground can impact claim filing
  • Weigh the costs, benefits, and extent of damage before filing a claim

As a driver, you are always faced with potential perils while you are behind the wheel. Think about everything that is happening around you as you are driving down a busy highway.

You have cars all around you: to the left, to the right, in front, behind.

You have the potential for objects to be sitting in the middle of the road at any moment, as well as the opportunity for anything to fly off of a car near you.

You are even faced with trees, light posts, guardrails, among other things that can also directly impact you and your time on the road.

If you are hit with some road debris, what should you expect from your car insurance carrier?

If you have ever needed help figuring out whether or not road debris is going to be covered by your car insurance, and what impact it will have on your rates going forward, you want to think about it based on the specific scenarios that are present.

Compare car insurance quotes right here for free. You may be able to save hundreds on your car insurance coverage.

Flying Road Debris Towards the Car

What if your car hits an object on the highway? One of the most common types of debris that you are going to face as a driver is that which is flying towards your vehicle, airborne. This can be debris that has flown off of the bed of a truck, or perhaps come off of a tree that is next to the road.

No matter what the type of debris is, the likelihood is that it is going to be handled the same way by your car insurance carrier. A flying paint can off of a truck or a falling tree branch makes no difference to how your insurance claim is going to be handled.

Any road hazard that is airborne when it strikes your car is considered to be unavoidable damage.

When you file a claim with your car insurance carrier, you can expect this to be covered as part of what is known as your comprehensive coverage.

What you are going to want to pay attention to here when filing a comprehensive claim is the insurance deductible that your auto insurance policy has, which you will pay out of pocket, and the associated comprehensive limits.

The one exception to the deductible rule has to do with something airborne that has only cracked the windshield. Most will have a portion of their car insurance policy that addresses windshield damage.

If your windshield cracks, you may have a policy that lets it be repaired or replaced entirely without any deductible applying. Pay attention to the policy coverage terms!

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Debris Sitting on the Road

If you are driving and there is debris that is just sitting on the road, it also poses a significant risk to your car.

When you file a claim due to hitting something on the road, it is going to be a part of your collision insurance, treated the same way as if you hit another vehicle.

If your car insurance carrier considers you at fault, meaning you could have avoided the accident but did not, you may not get the benefit payout you would expect. States are racing to repair roads, but danger always persists.

Filing a Road Hazard Claim and Insurance Rate Impact

Whenever you have a situation where dangerous road debris has struck your vehicle, you want to assess how bad the damage is and whether or not you should file a car insurance claim, like the Geico road hazard insurance claim

If you have damage of just $300, for example, you may want to get it repaired on your own rather than filing a road debris insurance claim with your carrier.

Once you file a claim, it is going to go against your future driving record, causing car insurance rates at the time of renewal to also increase.

Weigh the costs and benefits of the claim filing so you can be sure you will recover adequately to make it worth your while.

Debris on the road is something that we all have to deal with and be aware of. As a consumer for car insurance, though, you want to think about damage from road debris when you are shopping for your policy, not after it has caused you to file a claim.

Pay attention to your deductible, to the comprehensive and collision limits you are buying. Start here, compare prices from various insurers so that the premium you pay in exchange for your coverage is appropriate. By shopping around, you can find the most affordable car insurance quotes. Enter your zip code below to compare today!

You never know when debris could come flying at you on the road.


Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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