Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: May 12, 2021

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Approximately 12 million auto accidents occur each year and of these, the vast majority are minor collisions, also called “fender benders.” In this type of accident, damages are fairly minor and there are no major injuries. Around 42,000 people die each year in serious collisions, and nearly half of these are caused by drunk drivers. Statistically, the average person will be involved in some sort of accident approximately once every six years. Of course, many people go their whole lives without being in an auto accident, and some people are involved in collisions multiple times in a single year.

Although there is no way of knowing what will happen in your future, some types of accidents are more common than others. Purchasing coverage that will protect you from the following 10 claims will help provide peace of mind against the threat of vehicle damage, injuries and other situations.

1.) Rear-end accidents

A rear-end collision usually occurs at a stoplight or when exiting a parking lot; a car will stop and the vehicle behind will crash into the stopped vehicle. These types of collisions are always the fault of the person in the rear. Depending on the velocity of the accident, this can cause very minor dents or more extensive damage to the engine compartment, windshield, frame or other areas. Rear-end accidents are responsible for many whiplash injuries. This type of accident is covered by collision coverage.

2.) Chipped windshields

People who drive on country roads or highways have the highest chance of catching a rock in the windshield, but this type of situation can occur nearly anywhere where debris can fly up and damage a windshield. This is covered under comprehensive coverage; if the glass is repairable, the deductible is usually waived. Otherwise, a deductible will apply to the windshield replacement.

3.) Parked vehicles

Whether a parked car is hit by another driver or simply scratched by an opening car door, this claim will be handled under collision coverage. The accident will always be the fault of the person whose vehicle was in motion at the time of the loss, even if the parked vehicle was parked illegally. If the accident is a hit-and-run, the accident may be paid under uninsured motorist coverage if the state allows it.

4.) Backing accidents

A common type of fender bender, a backing accident occurs when two people are backing out at the same time in a parking lot, or when one person is backing out and the other is driving straight down the parking aisle. Either driver may be at fault in this type of accident; an investigation will need to be completed to determine whose insurance will pay for the damage. This is handled under collision coverage.

5.) Vandalism

Vehicles might be broken into, keyed, have sugar poured into their gas tanks or otherwise be at the brunt of malicious mischief. This damage is paid under comprehensive coverage. If the person who caused the damage is identified, they can be sued for damage; otherwise, the insured is responsible for paying the deductible.

6.) Hail damage

Certain areas of the country are especially prone to hail storms in the summer and early fall. Hail stones can be devastating; even small stones can leave pockmarks along the vehicle’s flat surfaces, and larger stones can break glass and cause large dents. Hail is one of the leading causes of total losses, and even drivable vehicles can be totaled by a hail storm. Hail and other weather-related damages are paid under comprehensive coverage.

7.) Single-car collisions

A single-car accident can range from a vehicle colliding with a road sign to one hitting a tree or running off the road in a roll-over accident. These types of accidents often occur during inclement weather. Single-car accidents are always considered to be the fault of the driver unless there are extenuating circumstances, like mechanical failures. Many fatal auto accidents are single-car collisions, especially when drunk drivers are involved.

8.) Intersection accidents

These occur most often when drivers fail to yield right-of-way when turning left on a green light, but they may also occur when drivers run red lights or do not see stop signs. At low velocities, these accidents can be fairly minor. At higher speeds, these accidents can be devastating. These account for many of the accident fatalities that occur.

9.) Total theft

Some states have a much higher risk of theft than others. Vehicles are quite often stolen for use in other crimes, such as drug trafficking, and these crimes often occur at the heaviest concentration along country borders in states such as California, Arizona and Texas. Other vehicles may be stolen so that they can be chopped and sold as parts. If the vehicle is never recovered, the replacement value would be paid under comprehensive coverage.

10.) Multiple car accidents

In congested traffic, multi-car pileups are fairly common. This occurs when a driver rear-ends another vehicle, pushing them into the next car. This domino effect can involve numerous vehicles, especially in stop-and-go rush hour traffic. Unlike two-car rear-end accidents, these collisions are not clear liability, and it may take some time to determine who is responsible for paying what damage.

Purchasing auto insurance is a balancing act between selecting the coverages you need to protect your assets and building a policy that will suit your budget. By weighing your likelihood of being in an accident against what you are willing to pay, you can find the best value for your insurance.