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Does auto insurance cover shopping cart damage?

Things to remember...

  • If your car is parked in a lot and a shopping cart hits it, the property can’t be held liable for the damage in most cases
  • It’s in your interest to attempt to file a report after you notice the damage to help you with filing a claim
  • Your auto insurance won’t pay for shopping cart damage to your vehicle if you don’t have physical damage coverage
  • Damage caused by a car being struck by a shopping cart is covered under collision coverage.

Parking lots can be considered dangerous grounds for both pedestrians and cars. While most people don’t travel at high speeds while driving in a parking lot, there’s so much foot traffic and so many distractions that accidents can easily happen.

Children who are left unattended, drivers who aren’t looking both ways, and adults who cross without looking all contribute to the problem.

Another hazard that’s in almost all parking lots is the shopping cart. What happens when a shopping cart damages your car? Does auto insurance cover shopping cart damage?

Shopping carts are essential when you’re shopping for groceries and other consumer goods but they can pose a problem when they are being controlled by reckless individuals.

It’s not hard for a runaway cart to do damage to the body of a vehicle, even older vehicles that are made fully of metal. The good news is, auto insurance does cover the damage. Not all types of auto insurance cover this damage, so make sure you have the right policy that includes physical damage coverage.

Before you learn more about how shopping cart damage is covered by your auto insurance, see how much you could be saving. Compare car insurance quotes today by using our free rate tool above.

Table of Contents

Can you file a claim against your insurance for shopping car damage?

Your car insurance will cover damage from a shopping cart, but only if you have collision coverage on your policy

You can’t file a claim and expect damage to your vehicle to be covered if you only have liability coverage under your auto insurance policy. Liability insurance only covers damage to the property of others for which you are liable. If another car strikes yours, their property damage liability would pay your damages.

In the case of a shopping cart striking your car, there is no other driver involved to be held liable.

To cover this, you need property damage coverage, which consists of comprehensive and collision coverage. What’s the difference between collision and comprehensive auto insurance? Each of these pays for damage to your own automobile. The coverage will pay up to the car’s market value if the car is totaled.

You can purchase both of these coverage options or you can purchase only one or the other. In this case, it’s usually collision coverage that you would need to pay for the damage to your car. Without it, your options are limited.

In some cases, this type of damage might be covered under comprehensive insurance. This would generally be if you can prove vandalism or if it was the result of a storm. It’s a good idea to carry both coverages to be fully protected.

What does collision coverage pay for?

Collision coverage pays for any damage caused when your car strikes or is struck by another vehicle or object. This includes incidents when your car is parked and you are not in the car.

In the case of a shopping cart, the claim will be treated much like a hit and run accident. Since there’s no other driver whose liability insurance will pay for the claim, you will have to use your own coverage.

If you believe the damage was done purposefully and is an act of vandalism, you may have other options, including legal action. If that’s the case, you need to file a police report and attempt to identify the person responsible.

There is usually a deductible that has to be covered before the insurance company will pay out on a collision claim. Consider the amount of your deductible before you file a claim.

What does comprehensive coverage pay for?

Comprehensive covers anything that is not a collision, which includes, theft, vandalism, and weather-related damage.

In the case of a shopping cart hitting your car, you would need to have evidence of how it occurred to have it covered as comprehensive. Some insurance policies may cover a shopping cart as a comprehensive claim, depending on the policy and the circumstances.

Will your rates go up when you file a claim for a shopping cart collision?

Your insurer might ask for important information when you’re filing your claim. If you don’t have the right coverage but you’ve identified the person who was negligent with their cart, your insurer may attempt to collect from that party’s insurance.

It’s always a good idea to request access to security cameras to see if the person at fault can be identified. However, in most cases, it’s hard to identify and locate the person whose negligence caused the damage.

When you do file a claim against your own policy, you always must worry about rate increases. Depending on the insurance company, one collision claim might cause a rate increase.

How much damage can a shopping cart really do?

It’s not likely that your car is going to be totaled if a runaway shopping cart runs into it but that small metal apparatus can definitely do some damage.

Depending on the type of vehicle and where the carts collided with the car, you could wind up receiving an invoice priced at $1000 for bumper or side door repair.

Depending on what your deductible amount is, the claim may not be worthwhile and you might be better off paying out of pocket.

Is the store liable to pay for the damage to your car?

If you drive into any store parking lot, you’ll probably see some signs posted that state that you’re parking on private property. Whether or not the store would be liable for damage if their shopping cart damaged your car depends on who owns and controls it.

Some stores don’t own the land that they are doing business on. Instead, they lease the commercial building and also the lot where their customers park.

Other stores find that it makes more sense to buy land and develop their own properties. In either case, it’s the store’s legal duty to protect people who are visiting their stores and their property.

Since there’s a duty to protect, stores can be held liable for damage to your property if reasonable safety measures aren’t taken.

In a parking lot, it’s fair to say that a store has taken reasonable measures when they have posted warning signs and installed cart corrals all throughout the lot.

As long as the carts are cleared from the corrals on a regular basis, the store could argue that it’s fulfilled its duty to protect its customers from foreseeable events like shopping cart damage.

When the duty is fulfilled and there is no negligence involved, the store won’t be held liable.

When can the store be held liable for shopping cart damage to your car?

Obviously, if there are no attendants who service the parking lot or corrals for storing carts, you might have a legitimate claim to file against the store.

It’s more common for vehicle owners to file claims against stores when their employees were obviously negligent and the owner can show evidence that their actions caused damage to your vehicle.

One example of a case where the store could be held liable for negligence is when the attendant is pushing stacked carts and loses control.

These runaway carts lost control and hit the car because the employee was pushing them. If it had been another shopper or even the wind that propelled the cart, there would have been a different outcome.

If you’re looking to do business with an insurer that will help you after a scenario like this happens to you, shop around. Find out which companies have the best reputations in the market first.

If you’re looking to change companies because of a rate increase after a shopping cart collision claim, shop around. Enter your ZIP code into our free rate tool below to get started.


  1. https://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=35813
  2. http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2015/03/bamboozled_sams_club_shopping_carts_damage_car_com.html

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