When the hood of a car isn't properly latched and hits the windshield, should the claim be comp or collision?
Q: "When the hood of a car isn't properly latched, flies up and hits the windshield, is that comp or collision?"
A: “I remember a court case some years ago where this happened and the court ruled that it was a comprehensive loss on the grounds that the vehicle can't collide with itself. As I recall, the court said if the hood completely came free and hit the vehicle, it might be a collision, but simply pushing back into the windshield without or before detaching from the vehicle clearly constitutes a comprehensive loss.
The Big ‘I’ Virtual University (VU) Ask an Expert also service fielded a similar question about this type of loss:
‘When an insured was driving along the highway, the hood of their vehicle somehow became unhooked, flew up and smashed into the windshield, causing $2,400 in damage to the windshield and hood. Is this a comp claim or collision?’
The ISO PP 00 01 01 05 Personal Auto Policy says: ‘Collision’ means the upset of ‘your covered auto’ or a ‘non-owned auto’ or their impact with another vehicle or object.
In a general sense, ‘collision’ is a single named peril coverage, while ‘other than collision’ is an open perils (named exclusions) coverage. If you can demonstrate it isn't a collision, barring any exclusions in the policy, it must be a comprehensive loss.
In the flying/falling hood claim, no other exclusions apply, so it must be a comprehensive loss. The argument hinges around the definition of ‘collision’: ‘impact with another vehicle or object’ (emphasis ours). Since the hood is part of the subject vehicle, the loss cannot be a collision—that would require the vehicle striking a secondary vehicle or object.
For more information about this and other types of physical damage claims, check out the VU article ‘Is It Comp or Is It Collision?’”
Bill Wilson is director of the Big “I” Virtual University.
This question was originally submitted by an agent through the VU’s Ask an Expert Service. Answers to other coverage questions are available on the VU website. If you need help accessing the website, email email@example.com to request login information.