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IIn the United States, there are many types of car insurance claims filed each year. Some of the most common auto insurance claims include:

  • Minor accidents like fender benders
  • Damaged windshields from road debris
  • Vandalism such as keyed paint or broken windows
  • Single vehicle collisions with objects like trees or poles
  • Theft of the vehicle itself or contents inside
In 2020, auto insurance claims are over 160 billion U.S. dollars with 27% of households reporting that they filed at least one auto insurance claim.

This article will overview the top 5 most frequent car insurance claims in the US.

Minor Accidents and Fender Benders

Minor collisions and fender benders are by far one of the most common types of car insurance claims filed in the United States. These minor accidents usually result in minimal damage to the vehicles involved and rarely lead to major injuries.

Some key facts about minor auto accidents:

  • They account for over 50% of all car insurance claims in the US each year.
  • Rear-end collisions are the most frequent type of minor accident.
  • They often occur in stop-and-go traffic when drivers fail to brake in time.
  • Parking lot accidents, like backing into another car, are also very common minor collisions.
  • Damaged windshields, bumpers, mirrors, and tail lights are typical in these accidents.
  • Whiplash and minor soft tissue injuries may result, leading to bodily injury claims.

While these accidents are labeled "minor", they can still create major hassles and expenses for drivers. Here are some common issues faced after a minor collision:

  • Dealing with insurance adjusters to determine fault and process claims.
  • Paying insurance deductibles and dealing with potential premium hikes.
  • Renting a car if yours is being repaired.
  • Taking time off work for medical appointments if injured.
  • Legal disputes if fault is contested between drivers.

To help avoid minor accidents, defensive driving tips include:

  • Leave ample stopping distance between you and the car in front.
  • Check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes or turning.
  • Concentrate fully on driving - avoid distractions like cell phones.
  • Drive slowly and cautiously in parking lots and congested areas.
  • Make sure you can see and be seen with functioning headlights and taillights.

While every driver tries to avoid accidents, minor collisions will inevitably still occur. Having adequate car insurance coverage like collision and bodily injury liability can help smooth the claims process. But driving defensively is the best way to avoid the hassle of an insurance claim.

Damaged or Cracked Windshields

Damaged windshields are another extremely common type of car insurance claim filed by drivers in the US every year. From minor chips and cracks to completely shattered windshields, this type of damage can happen to any vehicle on the road.

Some key facts about windshield damage claims:

  • Over 10 million windshields are repaired or replaced each year in the US.
  • Rocks or road debris kicked up by other vehicles account for over 90% of cracks and chips.
  • Extreme temperature shifts can also stress and crack glass.
  • Collision accidents are another common cause of major windshield damage.
  • Front windshield damage is far more frequent than rear windshields.
  • Cracks over 6 inches long typically require full windshield replacement.

There are a few options when dealing with a damaged windshield:

  • For minor chips under 6 inches, windshield repair is likely the best option. This involves injecting resin into the chip to prevent cracking. Many insurance policies cover chip repairs for free.
  • Larger cracks over 6 inches will likely require a full windshield replacement. This can cost $200-$800 depending on the vehicle. Insurance deductibles often apply.
  • If damage significantly obstructs the driver's vision, replacement should be done immediately. Otherwise cracks and chips can generally wait to be fixed.
  • Vehicle owners can pay for repairs/replacement out-of-pocket and avoid an insurance claim to prevent premium increases.

To help avoid windshield damage:

  • Allow plenty of following distance from trucks or vehicles with uncovered loads.
  • Replace windshield wiper blades regularly to keep the glass cleaner.
  • Avoid slamming doors shut which can vibrate and stress the glass.
  • Fill any minor chips quickly to prevent spreading into major cracks.
  • Be vigilant about not leaving items on the dashboard on hot days.

While windshield damage may seem inevitable for drivers, following defensive driving tips can significantly reduce the odds. And understanding options like repairs vs replacement will ease the process if you do have to file an insurance claim.


Vandalism and malicious damage to vehicles is an unfortunate but common type of car insurance claim. Ranging from broken windows to spray painted messages, vandalism can leave drivers with a big mess to deal with.

Key facts about vandalism:

  • Over 500,000 vehicles are vandalized in the US per year.
  • Major metro areas see the most vandalism, but no area is immune.
  • Smashed windows, slashed tires, and keyed paint are the most common damage.
  • Thefts of side mirrors, emblems, gas caps also qualify as vandalism.
  • Teenagers are often associated with vandalism, but perpretrators can be any age.
  • Hate crimes and gang activity may motivate some vandalism attacks.
  • Many acts are random with no clear motive beyond destruction.

Dealing with a vandalized vehicle can be a nightmare:

  • Filing a police report for insurance claims and investigation.
  • Finding a reputable auto body shop for repairs.
  • Paying deductibles and dealing with potential rate increases.
  • Arranging alternate transportation while repairs are completed.
  • Repeated acts of vandalism may lead vehicles to be declared total losses.

There are a few steps drivers can take to try to prevent vandalism:

  • Always park vehicles in well-lit areas with security cameras if possible.
  • Install an audible alarm system to scare off potential vandals.
  • Keep the vehicle locked at all times with no valuables left inside.
  • Use steering wheel locks or pedal locks as a deterrent.
  • If issues with local youths, notify police to increase neighborhood patrols.
  • Move vehicles into a garage if repeat acts of vandalism occur.

While senseless vandalism cannot always be prevented, cautious drivers can take proactive steps to minimize risks. Being aware of hotspots for vandalism in your area is also wise. And having comprehensive insurance coverage will ease the claims process if you do become an unlucky victim.

Single Vehicle Collisions

Single vehicle collisions are accidents involving only the insured's car and another object, not another vehicle. These types of crashes are also very common sources of car insurance claims.

Facts about single vehicle accidents:

  • Over 25% of all auto insurance claims involve single car crashes.
  • Striking stationary objects like trees, poles, guardrails, medians, and buildings make up most incidents.
  • Driving too fast for conditions is a leading cause of single car wrecks.
  • Bad weather like rain, snow, and ice often contribute to loss of control.
  • Driver distractions and drowsiness also lead to leaving the roadway.
  • Rural and suburban areas with higher speed limits see more single car crashes.
  • Nighttime driving increases risks due to poor visibility.
  • Injuries are common as airbags often cannot deploy effectively.

Dealing with the aftermath of a single car accident can be difficult:

  • Assessing if the vehicle can be repaired or is a total loss.
  • Paying deductibles and dealing with potential rate increases.
  • Finding reliable body shops to complete repairs.
  • Renting a replacement vehicle if yours cannot be driven.
  • Recovering from injuries sustained which may involve legal claims.

There are defensive driving tips that can help avoid single vehicle collisions:

  • Slow down and leave more following distance during bad weather.
  • Eliminate all distractions like cell phones when driving.
  • Scan farther ahead to identify risks like debris in the road.
  • Use caution navigating winding roads or unfamiliar areas.
  • Make sure all vehicle lights and signals are functioning properly.
  • Get enough rest before driving long distances.

Staying focused on safe driving is key to avoiding single car accidents. But having ample insurance for collision coverage and bodily injury will smooth the process if the worst does happen.


Unfortunately, vehicle theft does occur and can leave drivers in a difficult situation. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), over 800,000 cars are stolen each year in the United States. For owners, dealing with theft involves:

  • Filing a police report as soon as possible
  • Contacting your insurance provider to report the theft
  • Providing details like VIN number, time and location of incident
  • Working with your insurer if the car is recovered damaged
  • Paying any applicable deductible for loss or damage
  • Cooperating with authorities to try to catch the perpetrators

Having comprehensive insurance coverage can ease the claims process if your vehicle is stolen. Prevention methods like alarms, wheel locks, and steering immobilizers can also deter potential thieves.


In summary, car insurance claims arise from a variety of unfortunate incidents on the roadways. The most frequent types of claims filed by drivers in the United States are:

  • Minor accidents like fender benders
  • Damaged windshields from road debris and collisions
  • Vandalism such as smashed windows or spray painted messages
  • Single vehicle collisions with stationary objects
  • Theft of the entire vehicle or contents inside

Being aware of these common claim causes can help motorists be prepared and take defensive actions to avoid them when possible. Carrying adequate insurance for collision, comprehensive, and liability coverage is also essential to smooth the process if an accident or incident does occur. While no one hopes to file an insurance claim, vigilance on the roads and prudent preparation can help lessen the hassle if you do.

Other readers were interested in the following post:

How to Calculate Total Loss Value on a Car Insurance Claim? 

What can I do when my car insurance company denies my claim?

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