Analysis

How My Car Insurance Saved Me $350 After a Freak Accident

It all happened on a beautiful spring day, much like this one, in a town just like the one you probably live in. I was driving along, just minding my own business, when the back passenger window of my car literally exploded into the car.

Because of my car insurance, I didn’t have to pay a dime to have it taken care of, and I had a ridiculous amount of support in the process.

A day that went terribly wrong

I fully admit it, I was playing hooky that day, running errands instead of sitting at my desk writing like I normally do. It was a Friday, it was beautiful and sunny, and I was taking a familiar trip I’ve taken probably thousands of times at this point. Back to my house from across town, down a surface-level highway.

My dog was with me — that’s important to know — but it was just the two of us. He’s a nearly 9-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Cody. And, obviously, a very good boy.

We were crossing the midway point when there was a sound like a metallic object had struck the roof or the ceiling of the car and bounced off. It was the strangest thing. I looked down at Cody, and he looked right back at me, both of us surely thinking, “What in the world is that weirdness?” But nothing else happened, so I didn’t dwell on it and just kept driving.

Two blocks later, there was a sound that I’d never heard before in my life, almost like what I imagine driving a car without a tire might sound like, so my brain said, “Hey, pull over, your tire blew.”

OK, brain.

Read more: check out our picks for the best car insurance companies

Except, before I could even switch lanes to do so, glass exploded into the car. Tiny black shards of glass that once were the back passenger window flew toward us like so much stabby confetti.

I was cut, but not badly, and thankfully I was already trying to change lanes, so it wasn’t long before we were off the road. I know you want to know what happened to Cody, but don’t worry, this isn’t that kind of story — the dog doesn’t die at the end.

Shaken, not stirred, I called my car insurance agent because I had no idea who else to call. And that was when I learned what I’d been paying for all these years.

Yes, your insurance may cover that!

My American Family agent was great. She filled me in on what to do, what would happen next, and most importantly, what was covered. Because I sprung for the no-deductible policy, none of the cost would come out of my pocket, and my insurer would take care of the window, any injuries that may have occurred, and any rental car that fell within my policy’s price window if I should need it (no Ferraris, sadly, but a sub-compact was an option).

That was great news, considering. But I forgot to ask her about Cody, who was also in the car. I couldn’t tell if he had glass in his eyes (or anywhere else), and I rushed him to the vet afterward.

The adjuster would fill me in on this a few days later — my policy also covered any injuries to a pet, up to a cost of $1,000. His bill didn’t cost that much, and he was very lucky and absolutely fine. But I didn’t know I had this coverage, and it was something I was really glad to find out.

I also learned that my policy covered the glass replacement 100%, including installation from a mobile service, which is more expensive, but also more convenient when you’re super busy all the time.

My insurer paid the glass installer directly, and within an hour of getting Cody’s vet bill, reimbursed that cost to me. It was amazing.

Do you know what your car insurance policy covers?

It was an important lesson to me, and an important wake-up call. I mean, besides the very real fact that if the front window had blown out instead of the back, I might be writing this from the hospital — or not at all.

It was a reminder that I didn’t really know what I was paying for because I hadn’t reviewed my auto insurance policy in a while, even though it’s online and I can get a copy any time I want. My agent responds quickly to emails, and I could have asked her for an update at any time. But I hadn’t asked in about eight years, instead just paying my premium and going on with my day.

I have to carry car insurance in my state, like in most states, so I pay it because I must, hoping to never use it. I’m also an experienced driver, female, and I drive an older car, so getting maximum coverage for minimum out-of-pocket costs was not a challenge. But if not for this, I might have been out a lot of money unexpectedly, or left driving around without a window for who knows how long.

RELATED: Cheapest Car Insurance Companies

Check your insurance coverage. It might save your window — and pay for your dog’s vet bills — after an accident or some random incident on the road. And while you’re at it, ask your agent for quotes for policies with lower insurance deductibles, just for fun.

You may find that upgrading to a low-deductible, full-coverage policy won’t cost much more than what you’re paying for the most basic coverage, like I did.

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