When you’re driving down the road and a vehicle in front of you kicks up a rock or other debris, do they have to pay for the damage to your car?
Rocks and other types of road debris break windshields, damage vehicles, and injure people every day. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports over a period of four years, road debris caused over 200,000 accidents resulting in 500 deaths and 39,000 injuries, with 2/3 of the accidents caused by debris falling off vehicles and 1/3 of accidents caused by debris kicked up from the road. Here's how insurance works:
When another vehicle kicks up debris off the road, the driver isn’t at fault – for example, if the truck in front of you drives over a rock and it hits your windshield, they’re not responsible for the damage.
When another vehicle drops debris (gravel, trash, tools etc.) it’s transporting the other driver is at fault – for example, if a contractor drops a ladder off their truck they’re responsible for any damage to your car.
Since road debris and falling objects cause so many accidents, as precaution you should:
Follow other vehicles at a safe distance
Avoid vehicles with unsafe loads
If you can’t safely avoid road debris slow down to reduce impact - that may be safer than suddenly changing lanes at high speed and hitting something bigger while going faster. Plus a quick lane change accident will be YOUR fault.
If your vehicle is damaged by road debris you don’t want to be in the position where you’re trying to chase down the responsible vehicle to get their plate number or company name so you can try to get them to pay for the damage. Not only is chasing after a vehicle dangerous, it’s difficult to prove the other vehicle caused the damage and therefore difficult to get them or their insurance company to pay up.
To reduce your financial loss from debris hitting your vehicle, include Comprehensive coverage (physical damage other than from a collision). Comprehensive insurance includes Glass coverage, and in Massachusetts you have the option for a lower deductible - or no deductible - for glass damage. This is true for both commercial insurance and most personal insurance programs.
Because glass coverage can be subject to a separate lower deductible, or no deductible, for short money, we recommend that most people choose this option. No deductible means you don't have to chase down that truck...you can just get your windshield fixed!
New to Massachusetts or just getting new plates or a title for a vehicle? Be sure to check out our article on the Massachusetts RMV-1 form.
For other tactics on buying insurance to meet your own personal or business needs, give the Gordon Atlantic Insurance professionals a call toll free at 800-649-3252. Prefer to type versus talk? Click below.