Automobiles – whether we like it or not, their values depreciate with every passing day, and every mile you drive. Wear and tear take their toll, and periodically we need to replace certain parts such as brakes, tires, windows, bumpers, belts, etc.
One VERY important question on an auto insurance application is about existing, unrepaired damage to a vehicle. Let’s look at an example:
While making a left turn, you fail to yield to oncoming traffic, and another driver T-bones you. Most likely, the incident would be deemed your fault (other driver had the right of way), so your insurance would kick in. During the incident, your front wheel is damaged, and you need to replace your tire. Your tire was 4 years old and close to needing replacement anyway.
Now, do you think your insurance company will cover the cost of a brand new tire or just part of the cost of a new tire? Most likely – just the partial cost of a new tire, with depreciation factored in.
Also – say your front quarter panel had an existing dent from a prior incident (with visible rust, so it would be obvious that the dent is old), and that same quarter panel was damaged in this new incident. Most likely, your insurance will only cover part of the cost to replace this part.