When it comes to driving, there are so many things to watch out for, and it can be tough to do it all from the driver’s seat. You’ve got to pay attention to the road, watch other drivers, and keep a lookout for things that shouldn’t be on the street. Still, you probably do this every day or multiple times a day without having an issue. However, it only takes one time to glance away, be it watching a wayward driver or something else, for you to run up on the curb.
Once that happens, you may wonder what to do about it or if you should do anything at all. Here, we are going to talk about the damages you might incur, what type of insurance you need to cover hitting the curb, and whether or not you are required to have such coverage.
Types of Coverage That Can Protect You
If you hit a curb, you may wonder if you have the right insurance coverage to protect you and fix the problem. Some people become confused about the differences between comprehensive and collision insurance. They both work to pay for damages to your vehicle, but they do so in different ways. It depends on how the damage is caused. The good news is that if you have full coverage on your car, you are going to have both comprehensive and collision. Often, when you file a claim, the insurance company is going to determine which part of the policy should pay out based on the incident.
What Is Collision Insurance?
Generally, collision insurance is there to cover any damages that happen because of an accident with an object or a vehicle. This coverage can apply to you no matter who is at fault for the incident. This is what you are going to use if you hit a tree, post, curb, and other objects.
What’s Comprehensive Insurance?
Though we have already talked about which insurance coverage is going to handle you hitting a curb, it’s still important to understand what comprehensive coverage means. It covers the damages to an insured vehicle, which happens because of anything other than a collision. In a sense, this can be the result of fire, vandalism, natural disaster, and more.
The reason it becomes confusing is that most insurance companies call you hitting a deer as comprehensive instead of collision. To ensure that you understand the difference, collision coverage is only going to cover damage that happens from another vehicle or when you run into an object.
Damage from an animal, therefore, falls under the comprehensive coverage plan. Though a deer could be considered an object, most comprehensive policies specifically list hitting animals as one of the things it covers.
The good news is that comprehensive and collision coverage are often bundled into a package from your insurance company. This means that you don’t have to worry about which part of the policy is going to cover your issue. However, you can still decide to purchase one without the other or buy extra coverage in one area without the other. That can help you save money, but it also means you need to know the difference between the two.
How Are Your Rates Determined?
Insurance rates for comprehensive and collision are often affected in the same way as liability coverage. It depends on the age of the driver(s), driving history, and credit history. All of these, and more, can raise or decrease your rates.
Generally, drivers under the age of 25 are considered to be a high risk, so they might have to pay higher premiums. Traffic violations you have incurred can also make you a high risk. This does include drunk driving in all of its forms.
Often, insurance companies go back three years and look at your driving record from back then to determine what risk you could be now as a driver. If you have a lot of accidents and violations on record, the insurance company takes on more risk to insure you.
Sometimes, where you live directly affects your rates, as well. For example, some areas are known for car theft or vandalism. If you live in or around one of these areas, your insurance company is more likely to increase your premiums for comprehensive insurance. Similarly, if you own an automobile that is common for being stolen, there is a higher risk that the insurance company is going to have to pay one or more claims on your policy. Therefore, it might raise your rates because of that.
Along with everything else, your insurance company is going to ask you about where you work and live. This is to determine your established commute and routine. If you put a lot of mileage on your car, it’s more likely to be involved in an accident at some point. Therefore, your collision coverage could be raised because you’re putting more miles on the car.
You may also find that the value of your car directly impacts your insurance rate. If your insurance company is going to have to pay more to replace or repair the vehicle, you are sure to pay a higher premium. Along with that, you may have a higher deductible. In some cases, you can save money by choosing not to have comprehensive or collision insurance. However, if you do this, liability-only coverage is not going to cover you if you hit a curb.
Are You Required to Have Comprehensive/Collision Coverage?
Many factors determine if you must have comprehensive and collision insurance. Most of the rules are through your state. In most cases, state law requires you to have liability-only coverage, and this doesn’t include comprehensive and collision insurance.
However, if your vehicle is currently being financed through a credit union or bank, the institution is likely going to require that you have full coverage on the car as long as you owe money on it.
Those who own their vehicles aren’t required to have comprehensive coverage. This can help you save money on your policy, but it also means your car isn’t covered if you get into an accident that’s your fault or hit something, such as a curb. Though it depends on your budget and the worth of your car, it might be a good idea to get full coverage.
How Do I Know if the Curb Damaged My Car?
For some people, the idea of filing a claim (when you have collision and comprehensive coverage), is not worth the hassle. Therefore, you may run up on the curb and decide not to do anything about it. This can save you money because you don’t have to pay the deductible. Also, it can save you the hassle of filing the claim.
Still, it is important that you have your car checked out to make sure that no damage has been done. If you don’t, you run the risk of having issues later and are going to have to pay for the repairs yourself.
Many people think that hitting the curb isn’t a big deal. However, your car’s suspension system is highly complex. It consists of a variety of components, and any of them could be easily damaged, even if you hit the curb at a speed of fewer than five miles per hour. If you’re going even faster than that, there is a higher risk of damage to the car. Sometimes, curbs sit higher to prevent slow-moving vehicles from getting onto them. Still, if you hit them at higher speeds, you are likely to cause significant issues.
When you hit the curb, you run the risk of throwing the whole suspension system out of alignment. This is going to cause uneven wear and tear on the tires, and this can happen in just a few hundred miles. Along with that, your tire could have suffered damage in the sidewall. That can lead to a blowout, which is highly dangerous. If, when you hit the curb, it bent the rim, your steering wheel might wobble as you drive. Plus, you might notice that the car pulls or drifts to one side of the road or the other. This is highly indicative that the alignment has been affected.
If you suspect that you have alignment issues after hitting the curb, it is best to get it checked out. You can perform an experiment by going to an empty lot and driving the car slowly and in a straight line. Watch your steering wheel to see if it points straight. When the wheel cocks to one side or the other, it could indicate that your car needs to get realigned.
Severe Damage to the Suspension
While alignment damage is serious, that could just be the beginning. Your front suspension features several key parts. This includes the control arms, which let the car’s suspension move up and down without letting other components move. There is also a steering knuckle or spindle, which contains your wheel hub. If any of these parts get damaged, it is going to be extremely hard to control and drive it.
One symptom of a bad suspension system because of curb damage is a lot of bouncing. The suspension is designed to prevent you from getting tossed around when you drive over a pothole or speed bump. If you have a broken suspension arm, you may notice that the car slams down forcibly when you hit a bump. Therefore, if you feel like you’re riding a roller coaster when you go down a bumpy road, it is time to get an inspection of the suspension system.
Check the Transmission
Most people don’t think about it, but the curb you hit a week ago could have damaged the transmission case in your car. This can cause noticeable and significant problems when you try to shift, especially if you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle. If you hit the curb hard, it could also move the wheel shaft and axle into the transmission. Sometimes, a slight jolt can cause this many problems.
Also, you could have scraped the bottom of the car when you run over the curb. If that happens, you could easily disconnect cables and linkages from the transmission housing itself. Even worse, a curb could damage the transmission cooling lines and fluid, break the valve off, or bust the oil pan. If you notice shifting problems after you’ve hit a curb, you should go to a trusted auto repair shop and have it looked at as soon as possible.
Sometimes, when you hit a curb, it can damage the car tie rods. These are the connections between the driveshaft, steering column, and wheels. If the tie rods are broken, you may not be able to control your car during turns, especially if they are slick from rain, snow, or ice. The only way to fix the problem is to replace them, which requires the use of a mechanic.
You should also be aware that, after hitting a curb, the anti-roll or sway bar has been broken. These components are essential to the suspension so that the vehicle doesn’t roll or sway while you turn. A bad or disconnected sway bar can be noticed by a rattling sound, loose steering wheel, poor handling, and full loss of control when turning. You can drive with a broken stabilizer bar, but it is not recommended.
Though it is always best to avoid hitting anything with your car, we all know that accidents happen. While you can do things to prevent such problems, such as watching for potholes, avoiding animals, and being aware of your surroundings, it’s not always going to prevent issues.