A Totaled Car & Tow Charge

Know the Gaps

An Expensive Lesson

If you drive an older car, you may have decided to skip Comprehensive and Collision coverage on your auto policy. First of all, they’re usually not legally required. Secondly, many people think that insurance won't pay much when something happens to an older car. Unfortunately though, that’s not always the case. As Farmers employee, Karen Hansen found out a few years ago, not having Comprehensive and Collision can create a big, and expensive, gap in your auto coverage.

Like most mothers, Karen always wants the best for her children. But when it came to buying her daughter’s first car, she and her husband agreed it didn’t seem necessary to fully insure the high mileage, seven-year old Ford Escape they bought.

“With it being an older car, [we] decided to save a few bucks and insure it for Liability only, skipping comprehensive and collision, and towing coverage while we were at it.” She said.

Unfortunately, when a rainy day and slippery road left her daughter fine, but the car totaled, Karen learned an expensive lesson about car insurance gaps.

Her Story

“I was out of town for work that January when I got a call from my husband telling me to sit down…he had some news,” Hansen said. “It was raining at home, and [our daughter] had slid in a canyon, flipping the car.”

A first responder called Karen’s husband, and thankfully, their daughter was safe in an ambulance and on the way to the hospital.

“The good news is that there was nothing broken - just a few weeks of aches and pains in the aftermath. The car was another story,” Hansen continued. “It was totaled just three months after we made the short-sighted decision to skip Collision coverage.”

Comprehensive and Collision coverage can help pay for damages you cause to it in an accident, in addition to damages caused by weather, theft, riots, etc. Without Collision coverage, the Hansens were fully responsible for covering the damages or replacing the Ford.

“What's more, we were on the hook for more than $1,000 in towing costs for the emergency tow that the Highway Patrol had called in to remove her overturned car from the roadway.”

Comprehensive and Collision Gaps

Liability insurance works to cover you if you cause damage to someone else’s property. But if you hit something, or your car is damaged in a hail storm (or something similar) Comprehensive and Collision insurances can be there to cover your vehicle. Unfortunately, without this coverage, you’re 100% on the line to pay out of pocket. That’s potentially an incredibly costly gap!

“When we decided to skip the collision coverage it seemed like the right choice. The cost we'd save on the insurance would more than pay for itself in the long run, we thought. Wrong,” Hansen said. “And when it came to the towing, I had never even considered the coverage my policy would bring to an emergency traffic situation. I still kick myself about it three years later.”

To prevent issues like the one Karen and her daughter experienced, it’s important to make sure you’re covered. Talk to a Farmers agent today, and together you can:

  • Review your current coverage and insurance needs
  • Identify potential gaps
  • Find coverages and options to help you fill them

That way, the more you know, the better you can plan ahead for what’s ahead.

Update: Karen and her daughter visited her car in the tow yard a few days after the accident.

“One thing that stood out to me was that the entire car was about three inches shorter than it had been pre-accident. That car had indeed turned out to be the ideal car for her - it had taken the brunt of that rollover and saved my baby's life, and for that I will be forever grateful.”

* http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/national-data

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