A new analysis by CarInsurance.com reveals that the familiar two-car accident made up less than half of all incidents reported by car insurance shoppers.
The analysis drew on data submitted by more than 42,000 car insurance shoppers who listed previous incidents as they compared rates for liability, comprehensive and collision policies.
"We buy auto insurance because we envision two cars careening toward each other and screeching brakes," said CarInsurance.com managing editor Des Toups. "But more than a third of all incidents involve things like a parked car, the weather, vandalism, hitting animals or road debris."
Types of problems reported among drivers with previous incidents:
Struck another car: 22.7 percent
Another car struck me: 22.2 percent
Single-car accident: 7.9 percent
Act of nature: 5.8 percent
Struck parked car or tree: 5.4 percent
Car struck while parked: 5.0 percent
Debris or other non-accident damage (such as hitting a pothole): 2.9 percent
Vandalism: 2.4 percent
Struck animal: 2.4 percent
Windshield or glass: 2.2 percent
Theft of car/theft of parts: 1.5 percent
Hit a pedestrian: 0.4 percent
Each type of accident may affect insurance rates differently as well.
"Hitting a deer and hitting a tree might do the same amount of damage," Toups said. "But hitting a tree is more likely to raise your car insurance rates because it's a collision claim."
CarInsurance.com's new Crash-o-Matic tool lets drivers click on six common accident scenarios to see what kind of insurance coverage would be needed to pay for damage. The Crash-o-Matic also allows readers to compare sample rates for liability, comprehensive and collision coverage on a selection of 2013 model year vehicles.
"Liability insurance alone will never repair your car," said Toups. "We hear from readers daily who falsely assumed they were covered in a crash. The economic shock can be devastating."
See the Crash-o-Matic at http://www.carinsurance.com/insurance-coverage.aspx.
CarInsurance.com examined more than 42,000 online car insurance quotes delivered from Sept. 1, 2011, to Feb. 5, 2013, for collision, comprehensive and liability insurance on single-vehicle policies where users reported an incident in the preceding five years.