If a Cop Commandeers My Car and Wrecks It, Who’s Responsible?

Find out which and whose insurance would pay for the damage.
Cop borrows car

Responsible drivers need to be prepared for all kinds of situations, including those you think only happen in the movies. Though certain scenarios may be a lot less likely, not having the right coverage in the event they do occur could make matters really ugly. So what happens if a police officer commandeers your vehicle and ends up wrecking it? Who’s responsible for this mess, anyway?

Luckily an independent insurance agent can help you regardless of who’s at fault. They’ve handled all kinds of messy scenarios, so they’re well equipped to get you set up with all the coverage you need, long before you’d ever need to file a claim. Here’s how they’d help you get protected against a cop borrowing your car and wrecking it.

Who’s Responsible if a Cop Borrows My Car and Wrecks it?

So, you’re just minding your own business on the road one day when a cop commandeers your vehicle, and suddenly you find yourself in the middle of what feels like an action flick. Once you get past the initial shock or excitement, it’s time to consider what to do if they end up wrecking your car. Though you may not want to hear it, you’d more than likely have to file a collision claim through your own auto insurance policy.

Thanks to something called sovereign immunity, federal and state government entities and employees cannot be sued without their consent, which is why you’d probably be left using your own insurance for the disaster. However, you might get reimbursed for your auto insurance deductible by the police department’s coverage if you report the incident. But either way, it’s important to be equipped with adequate auto insurance just in the case of unexpected situations.

If It’s All on You, How Does Property Insurance Help?

Well, sadly the accident is likely to fall on you, at least from an insurance standpoint. Let’s say the cop not only wrecked your car, but also damaged someone else’s property. The property damage section of your auto insurance would reimburse for costs of repairs to property like mailboxes, telephone poles, buildings, etc. It would also pay to repair another person’s vehicle, if the cop ended up in a collision with another driver.

How Would Liability Coverage Protect Me?

Unfortunately, you’re probably not going to be able to sue the cop if they commandeer your vehicle, but for more common situations in which your car gets wrecked by someone else, the liability coverage under your auto insurance would protect you. Liability coverage pays for all legal expenses in the event you sue someone, and also protects you if you’re the one who gets sued. Since attorneys and court cases can be pricey, it’s a crucial coverage to have.

What if the Cop Injured Someone with My Vehicle?

Another aspect of coverage provided by the liability insurance in your auto policy is for medical payments. The bodily injury liability section of your auto insurance pays for medical expenses if another driver or third party gets injured as the result of you or someone else operating your vehicle. Medical payments covers doctors and hospital visits, and often emergency services such as ambulances. Medical payments even sometimes reimburses for funeral costs.


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What Does Collision Insurance Cover?

If your car gets wrecked by a cop or anyone else, the collision coverage section of your auto insurance would take care of the repairs. Collision coverage protects drivers from the following:

  • Collisions with other vehicles
  • Collisions with objects like trees, signposts, fences, and buildings
  • Single-car accidents like skidding and running off the road

Even in the event that a cop commandeered your vehicle and wrecked it, your car insurance policy should reimburse you for necessary repairs to your vehicle.

Do I Need Comprehensive Coverage?

While you might not need it for this hypothetical scenario, comprehensive coverage provides a lot of critical protection for drivers. Coverage is purchased separately and added onto standard auto insurance policies, but it’s more than worth it to consider. Comprehensive coverage reimburses drivers for perils “other than collision,” including:

  • Theft and vandalism: You will be reimbursed in the event your car is stolen or vandalized by keying, tagging, etc.
  • Riots: You will be reimbursed n the event your vehicle is damaged due to shenanigans taking place during a riot.
  • Natural disasters and weather damage: Covered events include fire, hurricanes, hail, tornadoes, and flood damage.
  • Glass breakage: In the event your windshield or windows are cracked, chipped, or shattered, you will be covered.
  • Collision with animals: You will be covered if you collide with deer or other large animals that could cause vehicular damage. This is the only type of collision not covered under the collision section of standard auto insurance policies.

Your independent insurance agent can help you decide if adding comprehensive coverage to your auto insurance policy is the right choice for you.

How Would This Incident Affect My Premiums?

To make matters even worse, if a cop wrecked your vehicle, it could leave you with a higher premium on top of the existing mess. Even a single at-fault accident claim through your auto insurance can cue your insurance company to hike your premium, and changes of up to 40% are pretty standard after just one incident. Though you may not have a choice if a cop needs your vehicle, in any other circumstance it’s extremely important to limit who you trust with your car.

Other Common Auto Risks to Consider Getting Coverage For

Unless you’re an action movie star, it may not seem likely that a cop will ever commandeer your vehicle. However, there are plenty of real-life scenarios that happen to drivers every single day, and they require the right coverage to keep them from turning into an even bigger hassle.

Here are a few of the most common auto insurance claims:

  • Hail damage: Severe hail can totally destroy vehicles. If you live in an area prone to hailstorms, you’ll want to have comprehensive auto insurance to protect you.
  • Vandalism: Cars can be vandalized by keying, tagging, getting broken into, or getting their tires slashed. Damage would be covered under comprehensive auto insurance.
  • Damaged windshields: Windshields can be chipped or cracked in a myriad of ways. Having comprehensive auto insurance would protect you.
  • Theft: Cars can be stolen while you’re away on vacation or even right from the street in front of your house. Comprehensive auto insurance will reimburse the vehicle’s owner for the replacement value of the car.
  • Rear-end collisions: The most common car insurance claims, by far, are rear-end collisions. Since you’re not at fault if you get rear-ended, the collision insurance section of your auto policy reimburses for your vehicle’s damage.

Your independent insurance agent can further discuss with you the risks that all drivers need to consider. Together, you can decide if your auto insurance policy would benefit from adding any additional coverages.

Here’s How an Independent Insurance Agent Would Help

When it comes to protecting drivers against cops commandeering their vehicle and wrecking it and all other strange incidents, no one’s better equipped to help than an independent insurance agent. Independent insurance agents search through multiple carriers to find providers who specialize in auto insurance, deliver quotes from a number of different sources and help you walk through them all to find the best blend of coverage and cost.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin

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