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It may seem a little bit odd to some people to have an article about whether or not automobile insurance covers damage that is caused by a shopping cart, but this situation happens quite a bit more than most people would expect. Shopping carts can cause quite a bit of damage to a vehicle, particularly if the vehicle is moving. Knowing whether or not your car insurance policy will cover damage from a shopping cart is useful information.
Runaway shopping carts are not going to destroy your car completely, but in some circumstances if one collides with your vehicle it can get quite expensive. Vehicle damage to things like bumpers and side doors can be quite costly, with some repairs costing $1000 or more, all from a shopping cart.
For people who believe a store they are shopping at will pay for the damage to their vehicle, they should keep in mind that they are parking on private property. In some cases, a store can be liable for damage if their shopping cart was the cause, but many stores lease space in their building, and additionally space in the parking lot, making it a confusing proposition.
Stores who purchase their own land and develop their own properties have a legal duty to protect their customers, including in the parking lot. If reasonable safety measures are not taken, these stores could be held liable for damage. That said, if a store posts signs about the potential danger and has other signs like stop signs, it is likely enough that they will not be held liable for the damage. In short, if the store is doing what they need to do to protect customers, and no negligence is involved on the part of the store, they will not be held liable.
In other situations, where the store both owns the property and has not taken proper safety precautions such as staffing the parking lot, having corrals for the carts, and other potentially negligent behavior, you may be able to prove at the store owner’s negligence is what caused the damage to your vehicle.
Additionally, if a staff person at a store is the direct reason your car was damaged by a shopping cart, you may have a good case in some situations.
If the store will not take liability for the damage that is done to your vehicle, you might consider contacting your car insurance company to see if you can file a claim. Like many types of claims, you will need to have the right car insurance coverage for the shopping cart claim to be accepted. If you only have liability insurance coverage on your vehicle, you will not be covered if damage from a shopping cart occurs. Physical damage coverage for your vehicles can come in the form of both comprehensive insurance coverage and collision insurance coverage. These both help to pay for damages to your vehicle, regardless of who is at fault.
Comprehensive coverage pays for damages that happen to a vehicle while it is parked in many situations. This can include falling objects, floods, fire, theft, vandalism, and a number of other perils.
Other considerations that need to be made before filing a claim with your car insurance provider are whether or not your rates will increase because of the claim. If a shopping cart damages your vehicle, odds are it will not cost $1000 or more to repair. If you have a deductible that is $1000 or $500, it may make sense to pay for the repairs yourself. The added cost to your insurance premiums after an accident might make filing a claim not worthwhile.
You can contact your automobile insurance company to determine how your rates might be affected by filing a claim for this type of damage. It is likely that by avoiding making an insurance claim you will save a significant amount of money in the long run.
While shopping cart incidents are generally covered with a person's comprehensive insurance plan, if they have one, it is not always the best choice to file a claim. You will want to weigh the pros and cons of filing an insurance claim and determine whether it is a good idea on a case to case basis. The vast majority of the time, paying for the damage that a shopping cart creates on your own will be the better option.
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