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Shopping Carts Woes

Could your car’s worst enemy be…a shopping cart? How could a motor-less, four-wheeled wannabe pose such a threat to a proper automobile? Believe it or not, one of the most common causes of body damage to a car is the dings and dents received by not-so-innocent buggies in the parking lots of your neighborhood grocery store. The question is: If your car is the next victim, how will your car insurance respond?

When dealing with damage to your car, there are two types of insurance: collision and other-than-collision (commonly called OTC or “comprehensive”). A common misconception is that the two are one and the same; likely because of their collective nickname: “physical damage.” In fact, they are separate types of insurance covering different types of losses, usually containing different deductibles and warrant a separate premium. Many drivers carry both, some carry one or the other, and others forgo this insurance all together.

Drivers who don’t have collision or OTC coverage should not expect to receive any dollars for damage caused by this rolling enemy. Drivers who do purchase collision, OTC or both must rely on the facts to determine which one will apply. Many drivers that have both may have a higher deductible on one or the other and, depending on how the loss is classified, be forced to pay the larger deductible. That difference could mean hundreds of dollars out-of-pocket.

For example, what happened that ultimately introduced the shopping cart to your car’s new paint job? If you back into a cart or someone accidentally runs into your car while steering toward the space next to yours, these claims could fall under the heading of collision.

But people aren’t the only culprits. Many cars are damaged by a cart that rolls due to an uneven surface or a gust of wind. These claims could fall under the heading of OTC.

Unfortunately, history has proven that there is no absolute rule in determining where shopping cart claims should be paid; each claim is fact specific. The important thing for drivers to realize is that it is possible for the claim to be covered under either. To help control the out-of-pocket cost surrounding this mystery, drivers could consider carrying the same deductible amount for both collision and OTC—this way at least you know what it will cost regardless of the details. Changing deductibles is a simple process that can be made in one quick phone call to your Trusted Choice®insurance professional.

And next time you go to the store remember to watch for unattended buggies… you might just be their next target!

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