Auto insurance is mandated in most of the country in order to operate a vehicle and is extremely helpful in the event of an accident, especially when the accident was not your fault. Insurance provides financial protection to cover injuries, losses, and damages, and is a business contract between you and your insurance company. You pay a monthly, quarterly, or yearly premium, and in exchange the insurance company pays for your losses in accordance with the terms of your policy.
What are insurance coverage requirements in North Carolina?
The state of North Carolina requires all vehicles with a valid registration to have continuous liability insurance by a licensed insurance company. Liability protects drivers and their families from car accidents, injuries and property damage caused by negligent drivers.
North Carolina law also requires coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorists, and minimum bodily injury and property damage. These requirements are :
- Bodily injury (one person) – $30,000
- Bodily injury (two or more people) – $60,000
- Property damage – $25,000
Your auto insurance should kick in when your car suffers damage and/or you were injured in an accident. The process of your claim depends on the circumstances of your Charlotte car crash and who or what caused the damage and your injuries.
Further, how your car insurance works and what it covers depends on the terms of your policy. Your policy may pay out differently than your neighbor’s policy, and vice-versa.
Here’s a common example of how car insurance typically works: On your way to the supermarket, a distracted driver rear-ends you at a stop sign. Upon exchanging contact and insurance information, you discover the at-fault driver is uninsured. In a case like this, your uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance would cover your damage and medical bills.
This got us thinking about some of the weirder and more odd claims we’ve heard about over the years. These stories are all true, and all went through the auto insurance claims process.
A customer shot his own pickup truck
Hettler Insurance tells the time a client called him regarding some damage that occurred to his pickup truck. The entire cab was shot up with shotgun pellets, destroying the interior of the cab, including the dashboard and seat coverings. However, this wasn’t an act of vandalism or violence. In fact, the driver was (legally) taking his shotgun out of his vehicle and accidentally dropped the gun on the pavement, where it discharged into the truck.
Unintentionally shooting your own vehicle with a shotgun is covered under that policy under “other than collision,” or OTC. The client was able to replace the shot-up interior of his pickup by paying his deductible.
“The dog ate my car”
In a twist on the old homework joke, Farmers Insurance reports on a case where a customer reported that her dogs destroyed her neighbor’s car – from the outside. Her two dogs, a large golden retriever and a St. Bernard, spotted a squirrel, which rightly knew it was in danger and ran and hid in the engine compartment of the neighbor’s Honda. According to the Farmers customer service rep, “The car was like a giant chew toy for these two. They chewed the tires, the hood, the bumpers—they really did a number on the bumpers—and there were scratches all over.”
The dog owner’s insurance liability policy covered all the repairs to her neighbor’s car, including the cost of a rental vehicle while the car was out of commission.
The case of the flying cow
This claim comes from across the pond in the UK, where a customer reported massive damage to his car after a wedding. During this grand affair, the bride and groom arrived and departed via helicopter. Unfortunately, during their departure, the helicopter caused a gust of wind so strong it blew a cow off its feet and dropped it onto the guest’s car, destroying the hood and windshield.
The customer received a full payout according to his policy and the damage was repaired. (And the cow is reportedly fine.)
There’s a what in the car?
Another story from the service reps at Farmers Insurance highlights the dangers of distracted driving. A driver called in an insurance claim after being rear-ended by another driver. The representative felt that the case seemed like a regular rear-end accident claim until the customer noted that they overheard the at-fault driver say that there was a hamster loose in their car.
The customer service rep said, “The driver shared that a hamster was loose in his car and caused him to hit the other vehicle. Apparently it got out of the box and crawled between his legs, and he was trying to retrieve it when the crash occurred.”
The driver who was rear-ended was completely covered by their insurance policy.
As you can see from these anecdotes, car insurance doesn’t only protect you from negligent drivers – it also protects you from freak accidents. Although these may sound funny in retrospect, car crashes are no laughing matter and it is crucial that you receive the compensation you deserve when injured in a wreck that’s not your fault.
At Warren & Kallianos, PLLC, our car and truck accident attorneys have decades of combined experience protecting the rights of injury victims. We will investigate the circumstances of your accident and work to ensure the insurance companies understand the extent of your injuries and losses. Contact us today to find out how we can help you. Call us in Charlotte at 704-377-7777, or schedule an appointment by filling out our contact form.