How is Side Mirror Damage Handled?

Broken Car Side Mirror
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Life is full of small irritations and little events that are just annoying -- more of a hassle than anything else. They seem to happen at the perfectly wrong time, usually in the middle of a bigger irritation when their potential to annoy is at its peak -- or at exactly the opposite time, when you are having a perfect day, just at that moment when you say to yourself, "everything is going so well.

Maybe too well." That's when it happens. In this case, it's damaging the side mirror of your car. That's irritating enough. But now you'll probably have to make an insurance claim and, believe it or not, that might not be as cut and dried as you think. So, to help avoid any unnecessary additional irritation, let's take a look the question: How is side mirror damage handled?

When A Collision Is Your Fault

How the repair to your broken side mirror is handled and who pays for it depends on how it was broken and who busted it. So, let's start with the case where you get into a fender bender (or worse) with another vehicle that was caused by your negligence, or maybe you hit a tree in your front yard while backing out of the driveway. The answer in both of these situations is relatively simple. Either you or your insurance company (or both) are going to pay. In order for your insurance to pay, you will (1) have to be carrying collision coverage at the time of the accident, and (2) have a deductible that is less than the cost of the repairs.

Collision coverage allows you to file a claim with your insurance company for any damage to your vehicle regardless of who was as at fault. In most jurisdictions, collision coverage is optional unless there is a lien holder on your vehicle. If you don't have collision coverage, you are going to be on the line for the costs to repair any damages to your vehicle in an accident caused by you, including damage to your side mirror.

If you do have collision coverage, you will have to pay your deductible before your insurance kicks in, and if the only damage you have is to your side mirror, there's a good chance that your deductible will more than cover the repair costs.

When A Collision Is Another Driver's Fault

How about if you are in an accident with another vehicle and the other driver is at fault? In that situation, you are going to file a claim against the other driver's insurance policy, get an estimate or two, have it repaired, and then the other driver's insurer will cut you a check. Or something close to that. If you have collision coverage, you can file a claim with your own insurance provider while you are working out the details with the other driver’s insurance company so that you don’t have to worry about coming up with the funds necessary for repairs.

There are possible wrinkles, though, that might complicate things. The first is in a hit and run scenario where the other driver takes off from the scene of an accident, or when the other driver doesn't have insurance. If that happens, you will likely have to file a claim with your own insurance company through your uninsured motorist coverage. If you don't have uninsured motorist coverage, get out your wallet, because you'll be paying for the repair yourself.

It’s also vital that you notify the police as soon as possible if you were the victim of a hit and run accident because some insurance companies require this in order for your claim to be considered a “chargeable loss.” 

When Damage Is Caused By A Thief, Vandal or God

What if your side mirror was damaged and none of the above-discussed situations apply? Then you have probably been a victim of theft, vandalism, or what is commonly termed an "act of God." I'm guessing that you already know what is meant by the first two categories, so we'll go straight to the third. An "act of God" refers to damage from causes such as fire, flood, snow, ice, wind, or any other event not created by the hands of mere humans. These are the events for which insurance companies created comprehensive coverage. Like collision coverage, comprehensive coverage is almost always optional unless there is a lien on your car.

If you have comprehensive coverage and your mirror is stolen or broken by a vandal or Mother Nature, then you can file a claim with your insurer. Keep in mind, though, that if you live in certain states who are particularly prone to certain types of natural disasters, your policy might not always cover damage caused by that type of natural disaster.

Keep in mind that you are probably looking at payment only after your deductible is exhausted. And what if you don't have comprehensive coverage? Get out your wallet.