• {{CallMeBack.Step === 'Details' ? 'Let us call you for a quote:' : CallMeBack.Step === 'CallbackDateTime' ? 'Select date and time' : 'Choose time slot'}}

    Please enter your name
    Your name contains invalid characters
    Please enter a contact number
    Please enter a valid contact number
    Please enter a valid email address.
    Please select a reason.
    Please select a suitable Date
    Please select a suitable time
    Select time slot

    Thank you for your interest {{CallMeBack.Fullname}}

    A consultant will contact you soon! A consultant will call you on the {{displayDate.getDate() + '' + DaySuffix(formatDate(CallMeBack.Date).getDate())}} of {{months[displayDate.getMonth()]}} {{displayDate.getFullYear()}} at {{TimeToMeridiem(CallMeBack.TimeSlot)}}

    Thank you {{CallMeBack.Fullname}}

    We have received your details and will contact you.

Knowledge Hub

Knowledge Hub

5 min read

Insurance for Car Damage: What’s Covered & What’s Not

Motoring and Travel July 11, 2023

Insurance for car damage may seem unnecessary — until it’s needed. It’s too late to get car insurance cover when the damage has already occurred. Dialdirect understands the importance of accidental damage insurance, so we'd like to shed more light on it. Discover what this insurance covers and doesn’t cover to make a successful car insurance claim. 

Insurance for car damage

Risks such as inclement weather, vandalism, theft and accidents can cause car damage. Unless extensive damage leads to a write-off, it can be costly to repair car damages.

Fortunately, if you have the right type of car insurance, your insurer will take care of the costs.

There are three common types of vehicle insurance: third-party only, third-party, fire and theft, and comprehensive car insurance. 

  • Third-party only: This covers damage you cause to someone else’s car or property. However, your car insurer won’t pay to fix any damages to your own vehicle. It’s a great option for insuring an older car and is often the cheapest form of car insurance.

  • Third-party, fire and theft: This mid-range insurance provides cover if you accidentally damage someone else's car or property. Additionally, it pays out in case of damage to or loss of your car due to fire or theft. This insurance is ideally suited for paid-up vehicles.

  • Comprehensive car insurance: If you have a robust range of vehicle insurance that offers the widest cover, then Comprehensive Insurance might be the best choice. It includes damages from a wide range of events, including damage caused by: hail, fire, water, vandalism, an accident with another vehicle and hijacking. It also covers damages that you cause to a third-party’s property or vehicle. 

Your individual financial circumstances, lifestyle and car condition will determine what kind of insurance you need. 

8 of the most common types of car damage

Car damages can be minor or extensive, depending on the cause. Some of the most common vehicle damage include the following:

  1. Dents, chips and scratches: These can occur anywhere — someone opening their door into your car in the parking lot at the mall, children playing at home, debris blown across the road — the list is endless.

  2. Broken or cracked windshield: The most common cause of cracked windscreens is caused by stones from the tyres of other vehicles on the road. Chips can be fixed before it becomes a bigger problem. Entirely broken windscreens often occur during car accidents. 

  3. Hail damage: Hail frequently causes dents in the car's body. 

  4. Water damage: Heavy rain can cause floods. Electrical devices (such as starter motors and alternators) and other electronics can be compromised if water enters your car. 

  5. Fire damage:  Electrical faults can cause fire damage to the exterior and interior of the vehicle, including your car engine. 

  6. Tyre damage: In many ways, tyre damage can occur, including hitting a pothole, impacts and cuts.

  7. Accidents and collisions: Car accidents and collisions with other large objects can cause significant damage to the body of your car and can cause hidden damages.

  8. Suspension damage: Hitting a pothole or curb can damage the suspension.

Types of car damage covered by your insurance

There are numerous types of car damage you may have to deal with. Your car damage insurance covers some of the following:

  • Accident or collision: Many parts can be damaged when a car is involved in an accident. For instance, the windscreen may be completely broken; the front suspension may be damaged, as well as the front bumper and radiator. 

  • Vandalism: Your car may be vandalised for various reasons, such as road rage[1]. You can successfully claim from your insurance to cover the cost of the repairs. 

  • Theft: Car thieves can damage your car to steal it. For instance, they may break windows or locking mechanisms or cause electrical problems when they hotwire your car. 

  • Natural disasters, including the weather: It’s not unusual for hail, heavy rain or winds to damage a car. Strong winds can break tree branches or uproot whole trees that can fall onto roads or cars on the roads or in a parking lot, for instance.

  • Animal damage: there are often questions about is animal damage covered by car insurance. This will depend on the circumstances. Generally, Comprehensive Car Insurance may cover car damage caused by hitting a wild or domestic animal. Check your policy to ensure you are covered for this event. 

  • Pothole damage: Dialdirect claims confirm that one of the most common types of car damage[2] in South Africa in recent times has been caused by potholes. Hitting or driving into potholes can lead to various damages, including tyres and suspension. The best option is to get add-ons such as pothole insurance because it may be cheaper than claiming from your car insurance.

Type of car damage not covered by your insurance

Just as it’s important to know what your car insurance covers, it’s just as vital to know what it doesn’t cover. For an accurate list of what it excludes, check your policy. However, most car insurance policies do not cover the following car damages:

  • General wear and tear: car insurance does not cover damages known as general wear and tear, like rust or worn tyres 

  • Mechanical breakdown: car insurance excludes cover for a mechanical breakdown. However, Dialdirect does offer a Roadside & Towing Assist Benefit, free of charge, with our Comprehensive Car Insurance and Third-party Fire and theft Cover.  

  • Intentional damage:  Car insurance does not cover intentional damage unless this is deemed to be vandalism, in which case you will need to file a police report. 

  • Events caused while drunk driving. Any damage caused while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or performing illegal activities is not covered. 

  • Using your car for uninsured purposes: If you’ve insured it for personal use but are using it for business purposes, you will not be covered for a car collision. Make sure you’ve selected the right type of insurance for your car.

  • Damage to personal belongings in the car: car insurance only covers damage to your car, not belongings inside the car. You can cover your valuables, like a laptop, with Portable possessions insurance.

Get insurance for car damage from Dialdirect 

Dialdirect has a team of experts ready to help you. You can request a free and no-obligation online car insurance quote. Enjoy peace of mind knowing that whatever accidental car damage you encounter, you’ll be covered when you make a car insurance claim. 

Dialdirect is a licensed non-life insurer and financial services provider.


[1] TimesLive: Sorry, angry drivers on South African roads, you’re not the law

[2] TimesLive: Pothole-related accident claims on the rise 

Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or medical advice.


Dial Direct Product Image

We have great insurance products


Need car, home & Life Insurance? We offer a wide range of insurance products. Switch & get cash back on insurance premiums.