How to Insure a Car With Pre-Existing Damage

Pre-existing damage makes it hard to find car insurance coverage. Repairing the damage and choosing liability-only insurance can help.
Buying a car with pre-existing damage can be a headache when it comes to insurance. A lot of insurance companies are wary of insuring cars with pre-existing damage because they view it as a higher risk policy, and they don’t want to end up paying for prior damages. Fraud schemes have made insurance companies much more cautious about the vehicles they insure, and this could make it harder for you to find coverage.
It is possible to get insurance coverage for a car with pre-existing damage, but there are some things you need to know first. We’ll walk you through the steps to getting coverage and what you need to look out for. In this article, Part 1 notes that pre-existing damage is major damage, Part 2 explains that insurance companies are wary of fraud, Part 3 advises paying for the repairs yourself, Part 4 recommends you consider liability insurance, and Part 5 suggests shopping around.

Part 1 of 5: Pre-existing damage is major, not minor

It’s important to note that minor scratches and dings don’t qualify as pre-existing damage, at least not the type that insurance companies are concerned with. Pre-existing damage includes bigger dents and scratches, and damage to the structural or safety elements of a car. Think major like cracked windshield or collapsed bumper, not little things like door dings or chipped paint.

Part 2 of 5: Insurance companies won’t cover pre-existing damage for fear of fraud

Insurance companies are looking out for situations where fraud might occur. Customers might purchase a car with major damage, get insurance coverage, and then fake an accident to get the damage paid for by their insurance. Some people exploit insurance companies as part of a scheme to get cash in hand quickly. Insurance fraud has been driving up prices for honest customers and it has led companies to act more cautiously.

Part 3 of 5: The easiest solution is to fix the damage out of pocket

It might seem obvious, but your best bet is to pay to fix the pre-existing damage before purchasing insurance. Insurance companies won’t cover the pre-existing damage anyway, and you’ll save money down the road by paying lower rates for standard car insurance.
If you are considering purchasing a car with pre-existing damage, ask the seller to deduct repair costs from the total price so that you can afford repairs right away. If they are unwilling, then it might be smarter to look for a car that doesn’t need immediate repairs.

Part 4 of 5: Consider liability insurance

You might not have the cash to fix the damage right away. In that case, consider purchasing just liability insurance until you can save up enough money for repairs. Liability insurance covers damage caused to another person and their vehicle or property. This type of insurance is required in every state, and it will allow you to drive legally without the expense of full coverage insurance. You should think of this as a short term fix, and still aim to save up enough for repairs, especially if there is a safety issue.

Part 5 of 5: Look for alternative providers

The big names in car insurance will be less likely to provide coverage for a vehicle with pre-existing damage. Expanding your search to smaller or newer companies might allow you to find coverage for your particular situation; just know that you will likely be paying more than you would with a bigger provider.
While it’s not impossible to insure a car with pre-existing damage, it definitely isn’t economical. You’ll be paying more in monthly insurance fees, and you will still be burdened by a car that has damage.

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