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Ask the Car Insurance Expert

I was involved in a single-car accident. I hit a pothole, lost control of my car (hydroplaned) into a canal and totaled my car. I only had the minimum car insurance. What am I entitled to?

Not much. Unfortunately, there is nothing your car insurance coverage can do for you in this situation.  You were at fault in a single-car crash and didn’t have collision coverage as part of your auto policy.

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State-required car insurance varies by state, but no matter where you live, if buy only minimum liability coverage your vehicle won’t be covered if you wreck it. 

Bare bones car insurance typically consists of just bodily injury liability and property-damage liability insurance.  Liability coverage pays out only when you are found responsible for damage to others, not for your own injuries or car damage.

To be “entitled” to make a claim for your single-car accident, you would need to carry collision insurance.

Collision covers damages to your vehicle if it hits, or is hit by, another vehicle or object, minus the deductible. It would have also covered your canal-flipping incident.

Without collision coverage as part of your car insurance policy, you’re left with the repair bill. 

If you want full protection for your vehicle, buy both collision and comprehensive coverage.  Comprehensive will cover your car for theft, vandalism, damage from striking an animal or natural disasters such as hail and floods and tornadoes.

Last updated: Aug. 13, 2014
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