So a shopping cart hit your parked car. There’s visible damage, and you don’t know what to do. Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about whether or not car insurance covers damage from a shopping cart.
In Almost All Cases, Shopping Cart Damage is Covered Under Collision Insurance
If you have collision insurance, then any damage caused by a shopping cart will likely be covered.
Shopping cart damage might seem like a complicated issue, but it’s not as complicated as people think. Typically, the store cannot be held responsible for how its shopping carts were handled by customers. In many cases, the person who damaged your vehicle with the shopping cart has already disappeared.
Fortunately, collision damage is designed to cover situations like this. Specifically, collision insurance covers damages caused by unknown people, falling or uncontrolled objects, theft, and other situations.
If someone keyed your car, for example, then collision insurance would cover it. A shopping cart collision is treated the same way as if a tree branch fell on your car.
However, before you file an insurance claim, there are some things to consider.
Filing an Insurance Claim Isn’t Always Worth It
Unless someone threw a shopping cart through your windshield, it’s unlikely that a shopping cart did major, devastating damage to your vehicle.
Sure, you could file an insurance claim. However, in many cases, the damage to your vehicle isn’t extensive, which means the deductible for your insurance claim will be higher than your repair cost. In that situation, it’s in your best interest to pay the repair bill out of pocket. Save your insurance claim for a more expensive event – like a collision with another vehicle.
Avoiding Insurance Today Can Save You Money in the Long Run
If you avoid filing an insurance claim for your shopping cart incident, then you’re saving more than just your deductible: you can also save a considerable amount of money off the long-term cost of insurance.
That’s because collision insurance is a type of liability claim where there’s no named individual at fault. It involves a liable loss, which means the claim counts against you both with your current insurer and with any future insurers (it will show up in a vehicle report called the Comprehensive Loss Underwriters Exchange report, or CLUE report). This report shows a list of liability claims you have filed over the past 7 years. Insurance companies use this report to determine your rates. It could even be the difference between deciding whether or not you’re insurable at all.
Ultimately, all of this adds up to a simple conclusion: it’s rarely in your best interest to file an insurance claim over a small incident. Avoiding insurance is almost always your best long-term financial option – and yes, I realize it’s frustrating to pay for shopping cart damage repairs out of pocket.
In Most States, the Retailer Isn’t Responsible for Shopping Cart Damages
If you watched someone grab a shopping cart and ram it full speed into your vehicle intentionally, then you might have a case for a lawsuit related to property damage.
However, unless you live in a city surrounded by evil people, this typically doesn’t happen. In most cases, a customer left the shopping cart in the parking lot, and that cart rolled down an incline or was blown by the wind to hit your vehicle.
In these situations, you might be tempted to hold the property owner accountable – say, the store or business at which you were parked. Unfortunately for you, most states have laws preventing the retailer, mall owner, government agency, or any business from behind held accountable for damage done by shopping carts.
Why aren’t businesses responsible? Well, the business didn’t hit your car: a customer did. Businesses can argue that they provided a place where customers could safely store their shopping carts. It’s not their fault if customers refuse to use those places.
That being said, we’ve seen reports online of some businesses fixing parking lot vehicle damage as a courtesy.
Ultimately, shopping cart incidents are typically covered under collision insurance – regardless of whether someone let the shopping cart hit your car, the wind blew it into your car, or some other incident took place. It’s treated as a similar incident to a tree falling on your car, or hitting a wild animal. If you have collision insurance, your damages will be covered.
However, it’s not always in your best interest to file an insurance claim. The damage to your vehicle is typically minor. It may cost less to repair your vehicle than you’d pay on your deductible. For that reason, make sure you weigh the pros and cons of filing a claim. In most cases, paying out of pocket is the best option for minor damages.