Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: May 25, 2021

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The Lowdown

  • Comprehensive auto insurance will pay for flying road debris while collision coverage applies to hazards lying in the road
  • Road debris insurance claims will be denied if the insurance company determines the hazard was avoidable
  • A third party can be held responsible for road debris damage, including construction and delivery companies

Safe driving requires all of our attention, and road debris is just one more thing drivers have to look out for. But what happens when that debris damages your vehicle?

Will auto insurance pay for road debris? Who is responsible for road debris damage? 

Fortunately, your collision and comprehensive coverage should pay out for car damage from road debris. Read our insurance guide now to learn more about when car insurance pays for road debris and what to do if you hit road debris while driving.

Ready to buy auto insurance to pay for road debris damage? Enter your ZIP code above to start comparing affordable car insurance quotes from local companies for free.

Is hitting road debris covered under comprehensive coverage?

Yes, depending on the type of road debris you hit, either your comprehensive or your collision coverage will kick in to pay for damages. 

What does comprehensive insurance cover on a car? Typically, damage caused by flying debris is covered by comprehensive insurance. Your comprehensive policy also covers damages caused by vandals and acts of nature.

Hitting debris sitting or lying in the road involves filing a claim on your collision insurance. Unfortunately, most insurance companies consider hazards lying in the road to be avoidable and may deny your claim.

Who is responsible for road debris damage?

An important insurance rule of thumb to remember regarding road debris is that flying road hazards are considered unavoidable and will almost always be covered by comprehensive coverage as long as it meets your deductible. 

But road debris insurance claims may be denied if you hit an object lying in the road. In that case, the driver is responsible for road debris damage and will have to pay for repairs out of pocket.

There are a few exceptions where a third party can be held responsible for road debris damage, including:

  • Construction companies that improperly place traffic cones or signs
  • State and federal transportation entities responsible for road maintenance
  • Delivery and trucking companies with unsecured cargo
  • Car manufacturers when parts detach from vehicles while driving

More exceptions exist, and your state’s road debris laws, as well as the unique circumstances of your collision, will influence your traffic hazard insurance claim.

If you’re unsure who is responsible for road debris damage in your case, it’s in your best interest to contact an insurance lawyer to learn your rights. Prepaid legal insurance can help cover legal costs and fees.

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How much will my auto insurance rates increase after a road debris claim?

If you’re at fault for hitting road debris, you can expect your car insurance rates to go up after making a claim. Rate increases differ by company, and providers look at the type of claim made, your insurance claim history, and your driving record at the time of the claim when determining rates. 

Take a look at the table below to see how much you can expect your rates to increase after a road debris accident with different providers. 

Car Insurance Rate Increase After an Accident

Car Insurance CompanyMonthly Rates Before an AccidentMonthly Rates After an Accident
Allstate$160$197
GEICO$110$160
Farmers$159$237
Nationwide$123$188
Progressive$118$196
State Farm$119$148
Travelers$119$164
USAA$104$146
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Where you live can also impact how much your rates go up, so it’s important to shop around with multiple companies to find affordable auto insurance to pay for road debris.

What should I do if I hit road debris?

According to most insurance companies, you should swerve to avoid hitting road debris. Unfortunately, more than a third of deaths caused by road debris accidents resulted from drivers swerving to avoid hitting an object in the road. 

Loss of life isn’t worth reduced insurance rates, so it’s important to drive defensively and avoid the urge to swerve when it comes to road hazards. If you hit road debris, get off of the road as soon as possible to protect yourself and other drivers on the road. 

If you’re injured, call emergency services as soon as possible.

If damage is minor and you aren’t injured, get out of the vehicle and take photos of your car and the object that you hit as part of your insurance claim. These photos can come in handy if a third party can be held responsible for the road debris damage caused to your vehicle.

After you hit a road hazard, determine the cost of the damages before you decide to make a claim. If repairs are minor, it may not meet your deductible and therefore there’s no reason to file a claim. 

On the other hand, even if repairs are more expensive, you may not want to file a claim if you can afford it out of pocket. Filing a claim for road debris can raise your monthly insurance rates, and paying upfront for repairs may end up saving you more money in the long run. 

The easiest way to save money on auto insurance that pays for road debris is to shop around with multiple companies. Enter your ZIP code below to start comparing quotes from local companies for free.