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Crunch time: When your spouse rams your car

Dealing with car damage is never a pleasant experience, but the situation can go from bad to worse when your spouse has intentionally damaged your car.

Your auto insurance policy won’t rescue you when an angry spouse seeks retribution by damaging your vehicle. Here’s a look at what happens after “crunch time.” 

Spouse rams into your vehicle on purpose

Property-damage liability exclusions do not allow you to claim damage to property you (the insured, meaning you and your spouse) own, so neither of you can make a liability claim.

If your spouse merely backs into your car by accident, collision insurance would cover the damage, minus a deductible for each damaged car.  But if your spouse is incensed and purposely plows into your vehicle, don’t expect your car insurance company to bail you out, even if you have collision coverage. 

Insurance problems when your spouse hits your carAs the Insurance Information Institute states, “Insurance generally covers accident and unintentional harm. No insurer offers coverage for illegal acts.”  Car insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for intentional acts. 

Spouse keys your car

The keying of a car is considered vandalism.  It’s a malicious act that a furious spouse could easily do in a couple seconds and regret for years.  Typically, vandalism is covered under comprehensive coverage, minus your deductible. 

To make a claim for a keyed vehicle, your car insurance company will require you to file a police report, which will include naming the perpetrator, if you know.  Once your insurance company finds out it was your spouse, you can kiss your claim goodbye.

Spouse busts out your car window

You’ll foot the bill if your spouse takes a baseball bat to a car window.  Your car insurance company typically would pay if you have comprehensive coverage, but here again your auto insurance company will expect you to file a police report and name the offender if he or she is known. 

Your insurer will deny the glass claim because it’s intentional damage by one of the insured parties.

Spouse kicks and dents your car

Having a heated argument next to your vehicle is a bad idea.  All it takes is one swift kick and your car can wind up with a shoe-sized dent.   If a stranger kicks your car, you'd call it vandalism; but when a spouse does it, it’s intentional damage that won’t be covered by your comprehensive coverage.

Spouse damages your car’s interior

An enraged spouse might take out his or her wrath on your car’s interior, but you’ll have to open your own wallet to pay for the damage. 

If your car's interior was damaged by someone outside your household, or even a wild animal that got into your car, your comprehensive coverage would cover the claim, minus your deductible.  Wild spouses aren’t covered.

Mary Bonelli, spokesperson for the Ohio Insurance Institute, says that these scenarios “would not be covered due to the fact that they were intentional acts by a family member.  However, if any of these activities were found to be acts of vandals and you carry comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, coverage would apply.”

All of the above scenarios also apply to live-in boyfriends and girlfriends (who should be listed on your car insurance policy, by the way). Your insurer won’t cover intentional damage made by a member of your household.

So if your spouse is angry and prone to retribution, you may want to park up the street.

More from Penny Gusner here

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