Damage to a car's side mirror is usually not major, assuming that there is no other destruction involved. It is one of life's small irritations that seems to happen at precisely the wrong time. When it does occur, you will need to determine whether to file an auto insurance claim to have the damage covered. Filing such a claim is not as easy as it may sound and will depend on several factors. Specifically, determining who pays for the repair of your car's side mirror will depend on who broke it and how he or she did so. This article provides different scenarios to consider.
When the Damage Is Your Fault
By way of example, let us say that the mirror was broken in a minor collision with another vehicle caused by your negligence. Or, perhaps, the mirror clipped a bush as you backed out of your driveway. In both situations, you or your insurance company would have to pay to repair the damage.
Your insurance company will cover some repair costs if there was a vehicular accident, and you had collision coverage on your policy at the time of the accident. Collision coverage allows you to file a claim with your insurance company for any damage to your vehicle regardless of who was at fault. But even if you have collision coverage, you will need to consider your deductible compared to the repair costs. A deductible is money you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance company covers its portion of damages.
If the only damage is to the side mirror, there is a good chance that the bill will be less than the deductible amount. A side mirror replacement generally costs somewhere between $139 and $328 for parts and labor. Meanwhile, a deductible is often either $500 or $1,000 depending on the policy.
When the Damage Is Someone Else's Fault
If the damage was someone else's fault, you might be in luck. You can try filing a claim against the other driver's insurance policy, get an estimate for the repair, and have the repair completed. The other driver's insurer will hopefully cut you a check to cover the repair costs.
If you have collision coverage, you can file a claim with your own insurance company as you work out the details with the other driver’s insurance company. You will likely be able to get at least some of the cash needed for the repair more quickly, and your insurance company will take care of getting reimbursed. But, you should keep in mind that filing such a claim may result in increased insurance rates.
The scenario gets complicated if the damage was caused by a hit-and-run driver. You can file a claim with your own insurance company if you have uninsured motorist coverage, but if you do not, you will have to pay for the repair yourself. It is especially important to file a police report on a hit-and-run incident. Some insurance companies require it to have your claim considered as a chargeable loss.
When the Damage Is Caused by a Thief, Vandal, or God
If none of the above scenarios applies, you are probably the victim of theft, vandalism, or what the insurance companies call an "act of God." An "act of God" is an event that is beyond the capabilities of mere mortals, such as a hurricane or a lightning strike. Insurance companies created comprehensive coverage for such events that are outside of your control.
If you have comprehensive coverage, and your mirror is broken by a vandal or by the wrath of nature, you can usually file a claim with your insurance company. You will, however, need to check your policy. Comprehensive insurance sometimes omits damage from specific natural disasters in areas that are prone to them. And you should not forget about the deductible. You will need to pay up to the deductible amount before the insurance can kick in.