Will Auto Insurance Cover Rust Damage?

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All cars inevitably get rust damage over time. When your car gets rust damage, can you depend on car insurance to protect you? Or are you out of luck?

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about whether or not your car insurance policy covers rust damage.

car insurance rust damage

No, Car Insurance Does Not Typically Cover Rust Damage

Car insurance is designed to protect you against unexpected expenses – like an accident, vehicle theft, or hurricane damage.

Car insurance is not designed to protect against expected expenses – like damages caused by ordinary wear and tear on your vehicle.

All cars will get rust damage over time. There are ways to delay rust damage – but there’s no real way to avoid rust damage.

For that reason, car insurance companies do not usually cover rust damage to a vehicle. Rust is considered to be normal wear and tear on a vehicle. This is the same reason that car insurance companies don’t cover blown engines, brake pad replacements, and other mechanical problems: they’re ordinary, expected parts of owning a vehicle.

Car Insurance Might Cover Rust Damage in Certain Situations

If your car gets rusty over a long period of time, then it’s unlikely for your car insurance policy to cover it.

If, however, your car has become rusty due to a certain situation, then you might be covered under your car insurance policy.

There are two situations where car insurance might cover rust damage, assuming you have a full coverage policy or comprehensive coverage:

Improper Repair Job Leads to Rust Damage

Let’s say your rust damage occurred due to an incident where your vehicle was not repaired correctly. You took your car to a body shop and paid for repairs. A certain piece was inadequately repaired and installed. Because that piece was improperly installed, your car developed rust damage. In this situation, it’s possible that your comprehensive coverage could cover rust damage. However, you would need to prove that the rust damage occurred after the repairs took place.

Flood Damage Causes Rust Damage

If your car is damaged in a flood, then it might have severe rust damage in a short period of time. Sometimes, comprehensive coverage will cover flood damage or severe storm damage. In this situation, your car might have a severe rust problem that may be covered by your ordinary car insurance policy. Flood-related rust damage is particularly common in coastal areas, including hurricane-prone regions.

What Causes Vehicles to Rust?

Cars in certain areas are more prone to rust than cars in other areas. Drivers in coastal areas, for example, might inadvertently expose their cars to saltwater, increasing corrosion and causing rust to form.

Drivers in humid climates might also have more rust problems. More humidity in the air means more corrosion.

Some municipalities in winter climates will pour salt on the road to melt the snow and ice. This works great for removing the snow and ice – but it also wreaks havoc on cars. Salt leads to rust, which is why many cars in winter climates are more prone to rust issues.

The cars that are least prone to rust are those that live in dry, desert climates. Nevertheless, even these cars will develop rust over a long enough period of time.

I Have Full Coverage Car Insurance: Am I Covered Against Rust?

No standard car insurance policies cover rust damage. Whether you have comprehensive coverage, full coverage, collision coverage, or any other standard car insurance policy, it’s unlikely that your rust damage will be covered.

Comprehensive coverage tends to cover more incidents than any other type of policy. However, even comprehensive coverage has its shortcomings. It covers hail damage, storm damage, vehicle theft, vandalism, and other issues, for example. It does not, however, comprehensively protect against all types of car damage – including rust and other normal wear and tear.

Some drivers have mechanical breakdown insurance, or MBI. This unique type of car insurance is available on new vehicles. It functions similar to an extended warranty, protecting you against unexpected mechanical breakdowns in the first 2-3 years of vehicle ownership. Even mechanical breakdown insurance, however, will not cover rust damage.

Conclusion: All Car Insurance Policies Exclude Wear and Tear-Related Damage Like Rust

Rust damage occurs to all vehicles over time. It’s a normal part of vehicle wear and tear.

Unfortunately for drivers, all car insurance policies have provisions excluding coverage for wear and tear. That’s why car insurance companies don’t pay for brake replacements or transmission repairs: these are normal mechanical issues that occur to cars as they age. Rust, like these issues, will not be covered by an ordinary car insurance policy.

There are limited exceptions to this rule. If your car rusts due to improper repairs or replacements at an auto body shop, for example, then it’s possible for a car insurance policy to cover the cost of repairing rust damage. Or, if the rust damage occurs due to flooding or another weather-related incident, then it’s also possible that car insurance could cover the damage.

In most cases, however, your car insurance policy will never cover rust damage.

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