Understanding Rust Repair Coverage in Auto Insurance Policies

Does Auto Insurance Cover Rust Repair? Top Answers 2024

Understanding Rust Repair Coverage in Auto Insurance Policies

Does auto insurance cover rust repair?

No, auto insurance typically does not cover rust repair. Rust is considered normal wear and tear, and most insurance policies exclude such repairs.

For quick reference:

  • Normal Wear and Tear: Not covered
  • Comprehensive Coverage: May cover if rust is due to covered damage (e.g., flood)
  • Collision Coverage: Not applicable for rust repairs

Let’s delve into the specifics.

At Toth-Felty Insurance, we understand that the complexities of auto insurance can leave many small business owners in Northeast Ohio scratching their heads—especially when it comes to issues like rust damage. Auto insurance generally won’t cover the expense of rust repairs, as rust falls under the category of “normal wear and tear” and is often due to neglect.

However, there are exceptions. For instance, if your car experiences rust damage due to a specific covered incident such as a flood or improper repair after an accident, comprehensive coverage may step in.

Understanding the nuances of rust repair coverage can help you make informed decisions about how to best protect your vehicle. With Toth-Felty Insurance, you get personalized guidance to navigate these tricky waters.

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What Causes Rust on Vehicles?

Rust is a common issue for vehicle owners, especially in certain environments. Understanding what causes rust can help you take steps to prevent it and protect your car.

Wet Climates

Vehicles in wet climates are more prone to rust. Rain and snow introduce moisture to the metal parts of your car. Over time, this moisture can cause oxidation, leading to rust. Regularly washing and drying your vehicle can help mitigate this risk.


Living near the coast? Your car is at a higher risk for rust due to saltwater exposure. Saltwater accelerates the rusting process because salt acts as a catalyst for corrosion. Coastal areas often see more rusted vehicles compared to inland regions.

Snow and Road Salt

If you live in a snowy area, you might be familiar with road salt. Cities often use salt to melt snow and ice on roads. While this makes driving safer, it also increases the likelihood of rust. Salt from the roads can stick to the underside of your car, speeding up the rusting process.


High humidity levels can also contribute to rust. Humid air contains more moisture, which can settle on your car and lead to rusting. This is particularly problematic in regions with consistently high humidity.

Coastal Areas

Combining the effects of saltwater and humidity, coastal areas are a perfect storm for rust. Vehicles in these regions often rust faster and more extensively. Regular maintenance and protective coatings can help combat this issue.

Road Salt

Even if you don’t live in a snowy area, road salt can still be a problem. Some regions use salt year-round to keep roads safe. Driving through these areas can expose your car to the same risks as living in a snowy climate.

Understanding these factors can help you take proactive steps to protect your vehicle from rust. Regular maintenance, washing, and using protective coatings are some of the best ways to keep your car in good shape.

Next, we’ll dive into whether auto insurance covers rust repair and what you need to know about it.

Does Auto Insurance Cover Rust Repair?

When it comes to rust repair, many car owners wonder, “does auto insurance cover rust repair?” The short answer is usually no, but there are exceptions.

Situations Where Rust Might Be Covered

While rust is typically seen as normal wear and tear, there are specific situations where comprehensive coverage might come to your rescue.

Improper Repair Job

If your car develops rust due to an improper repair job, this could be covered. For instance, if you had bodywork done and the repair shop did not apply rust protection properly, causing rust to form, your comprehensive coverage might cover the damage. However, you would need to prove that the rust appeared after the repair.

Flood Damage

Flood damage is another situation where rust could be covered under comprehensive insurance. If your vehicle is exposed to floodwaters, especially in coastal areas prone to hurricanes, the resulting rust damage can be claimed. Comprehensive coverage typically includes damages from natural disasters like floods.

Why Rust is Generally Not Covered

Normal Wear and Tear

Rust is often categorized as normal wear and tear. Vehicles naturally accumulate rust over time due to exposure to water, salt, and other elements. Since insurance is designed to cover unexpected damages, rust doesn’t usually qualify.


Insurance policies exclude damages caused by negligence. If rust forms because you didn’t take proper care of your vehicle—like not washing off road salt or ignoring minor rust spots—your claim would likely be denied.

Policy Exclusions

Most auto insurance policies have clear exclusions for rust damage. This means that unless the rust results from a covered event (like improper repair or flood damage), it’s not included. Reviewing your policy details can give you a clearer understanding of these exclusions.

In summary, while rust repair isn’t typically covered due to its classification as wear and tear, there are exceptions like improper repairs and flood damage where comprehensive coverage might help. Understanding these nuances can help you navigate your insurance policy more effectively.

Next, we’ll explore how to prevent rust on your vehicle to avoid these issues altogether.

How to Prevent Rust on Your Vehicle

Rust can be a car owner’s worst nightmare, but there are steps you can take to keep it at bay. Here are some practical tips to prevent rust from forming on your vehicle:

Regular Washing

Keep your car clean. Dirt and grime can trap moisture against your vehicle’s metal surfaces, accelerating rust formation. Washing your car regularly, especially the undercarriage, helps remove these contaminants. In winter, it’s crucial to wash off road salt, which is highly corrosive.

Avoiding Water Puddles

Steer clear of standing water. Driving through water puddles, especially those on salted roads, increases the risk of rust. Water can splash onto the undercarriage and other hidden areas, where it might sit and cause corrosion over time.

Maintaining Paint

Fix paint chips and scratches promptly. The paint on your car acts as a protective barrier against moisture. If you notice any chips or scratches, repair them quickly to prevent rust from starting. Use touch-up paint or visit a professional for larger areas.


Wax your car regularly. Wax provides an extra layer of protection for your car’s paint. It helps repel water and other elements that can cause rust. Aim to wax your vehicle at least twice a year for optimal protection.

Storing in a Garage

Park indoors when possible. Storing your car in a garage shields it from the elements, including rain, snow, and humidity. If a garage isn’t available, consider using a car cover to protect your vehicle from moisture.

Taking these steps can significantly reduce the risk of rust and prolong the life of your vehicle. Next, we’ll discuss what to do if your car already has rust damage and how to handle repairs.

What to Do If Your Car Has Rust Damage

If you notice rust on your vehicle, it’s important to act quickly to prevent it from spreading and causing further damage. Here are some steps you can take:

Self-Insuring for Rust Repairs

Self-insuring means setting aside money each month to cover potential repair costs. Since auto insurance typically doesn’t cover rust damage, having a dedicated savings fund can be a lifesaver. Repairing rust can cost between $500 to $1,000, depending on the size and location of the rust spot.

By saving a small amount each month, you can ensure you have the funds readily available for any unexpected repairs. This proactive approach can save you from financial stress down the line.

Understanding Repair Costs

Rust repair costs can vary. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Small Rust Spots: $50 to $150
  • Medium Rust Patches: $150 to $500
  • Large Rust Areas: $500 to $1,000

These costs can add up, so it’s wise to budget accordingly. The longer you wait, the more expensive the repair could become.

Seeking Professional Help

When it comes to rust repair, professional help is often the best route. DIY fixes might seem cheaper, but they can lead to subpar results and even more damage over time. A professional can ensure the rust is removed properly and that your vehicle is protected from future rusting.

If you’re in need of professional rust repair services, consider contacting a reputable local auto body shop. They can provide comprehensive rust repair services and help you restore your vehicle to its original condition.

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By taking swift action and consulting professionals, you can save your car from extensive damage and keep it running smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions about Rust Repair Coverage

Is rust repair covered by insurance?

Generally, no, rust repair is not covered by auto insurance. Rust is usually considered normal wear and tear. Most policies, including both collision and liability insurance, do not cover this type of damage.

However, there are two specific situations where rust might be covered under comprehensive coverage:

  1. Improper repair job: If rust develops due to a faulty repair job, it might be covered. You’ll need to prove that the damage occurred because of the improper repair.
  2. Flood damage: If your car gets rust due to flood damage, comprehensive coverage might help. This is especially relevant in areas prone to hurricanes or severe storms.

Can a car be totaled due to rust?

Yes, a car can be totaled due to rust, but it depends on the extent of the damage. If rust compromises the structural integrity of the vehicle, such as a rusted frame or detached leaf spring, the car may be deemed a total loss. This was notably the case with late 90’s and early 00’s Toyota Tacomas, which had such severe frame rust issues that the company bought them back from owners.

Is rust under a car fixable?

Yes, rust under a car is fixable, but it’s crucial to address it quickly to prevent it from spreading. The cost of rust repair can vary widely, ranging from $500 to $1,000 depending on the size and location of the rust.

Preventative measures can help you avoid costly repairs:

  • Regularly wash your car, especially the undercarriage, to remove road salt and grime.
  • Store your car in a garage to protect it from the elements.
  • Maintain the paint and wax your vehicle to provide a protective barrier against rust.

By taking these steps, you can extend the life of your car and reduce the risk of rust damage.


In summary, auto insurance typically does not cover rust repair. Rust is considered normal wear and tear, which is generally excluded from most policies. However, in some cases, such as improper repair jobs or flood damage, comprehensive coverage might help.

Rust prevention is key. Regular washing, especially the undercarriage, storing your car in a garage, and maintaining the paint can save you from costly repairs.

At Toth-Felty Insurance, we understand that every vehicle and driver is unique. We offer personalized insurance solutions tailored to your needs. If you have questions about your auto insurance policy or need help finding the right coverage, our team is here to assist you.

For more information about our auto repair insurance services, please visit our Auto Repair Insurance page.

Taking proactive steps now can save you time, money, and stress in the future. Let us help you protect your investment.

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