Does car insurance cover rust damage?

Auto insurance doesn't cover rust damage because rusting is a symptom of an aging vehicle. Car insurance companies insist that accidents should be reported immediately before a vehicle rusts and causes more damage. While most companies don't provide car insurance coverage for rust damage, you should shop around and compare multiple car insurance companies with timely claims programs.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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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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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jul 11, 2021

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The Highlights

  • Rust damage usually occurs over time, and it’s not covered by car insurance
  • File a claim as soon as possible to prevent damage from rusting
  • You may have to pay out of pocket for rust damage

Has damage from your car insurance accident started to rust? Rust can occur over time, but does auto insurance cover rust damage?

Our guide explains everything you need to know about car insurance coverage for rust damage. We’ll also list the best insurance companies for car insurance claims.

When you’re finished learning about how car insurance covers rust damage, enter your ZIP code in the free online quote tool above to compare multiple companies in your area.

Does car insurance cover rust damage?

The short answer is no. Rust damage usually occurs over time. If you’ve been in an accident, you should file a claim right away to prevent rusting in the future.

No car insurance coverage pays for rust damage. Not even full coverage car insurance covers damage from rust. Be careful of car insurance companies that promise you rust insurance.

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How long does it take for a car to rust after an accident?

It depends on the location of the vehicle. However, it can take four to five days for a car to start rusting around the damage.

Most auto repair and body repair shops change damaged parts, so it’s not likely that they’ll reinstall a compromised part to your vehicle.

Rust that accumulated over a few months can make repairs more difficult. In addition, components are harder to remove when they’re rusted.

Along with rust damage, car insurance companies won’t cover other car parts damaged by wear and tear (aging).

Which car insurance companies are good with claims?

Your auto insurance company won’t cover rust damage. If you’re in a car accident, you’ll need a car insurance company with a dependable claims system.

Let’s look at a quick summary to determine which companies had the best auto claims satisfaction in 2020.

J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study
Car Insurance CompaniesJ.D. Power Score (Based on a 1,000-Point Scale)
American Family862
Amica Mutual907
Auto Club of South California Insurance Group866
Auto-Owners Insurance890
Automobile Club Group858
COUNTRY Financial863
CSAA Insurance Group862
Erie Insurance880
Liberty Mutual867
National General815
NJM Insurance Co.909
State Farm881
The Hartford888
Industry Average872
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According to J.D. Power, NJM Insurance Co., Amica Mutual, Auto-Owners Insurance, USAA, and The Hartford are the top five insurance companies for auto claims satisfaction.

USAA is the only one of the five that is ranked among the top car insurance companies by market share.

Three Things That Cause Your Car to Rust

Driving a damaged vehicle isn’t good. The rusting process might be accelerated by certain conditions. According to Dave’s Body Shop, these three things could speed up rusting:

  • Salt
  • Moisture
  • Neglect

Moisture is introduced from the weather and general car maintenance. Water can break down metal over time, leaving behind a slow build-up of rust.

Salt acts much faster than water. Although it’s helpful against black ice, it can break down components on your car.

Finally, neglecting maintenance can lead to rust on your vehicle. Pollen, dirt, and other debris can slowly rust your car. If your vehicle is damaged, rust can eat away at the compromised areas.

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Why might a car insurance company cover rust damage?

Auto insurance companies may assume rust damage occurred over time. However, if you have accidental damage from a chemical that causes rapid corrosion, your company’s comprehensive car insurance may cover the damages.

Some chemicals are highly acidic. Even metals like iron and steel can corrode from strong acids.

Comprehensive insurance comes with a deductible. Getting a higher deductible will lower your overall car insurance rates, but remember that you have to pay this deductible before your car insurance company will pay out on a claim.

Car Insurance Covers Rust Damage: What’s the bottom line?

Car insurance companies won’t cover rust damage. Any damage that happens over time is your responsibility. If you get into an accident, you’ll have to make a claim.

An at-fault driver needs collision coverage to get help from their insurance company after an accident. Chemical-related accidents have to be filed under comprehensive coverage claims.

Now that you know why car insurance doesn’t cover rust damage, you should use our free online tool to compare multiple car insurance companies near you and get coverage today.

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