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Alignment is an adjustment to your vehicle’s suspension, which affects how your tires make contact with the road. You’ll need an alignment whenever your wheels get out of whack and aren’t all pointing in the exact same direction.
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If you have the right coverage, car insurance will cover an alignment if your suspension was damaged in an accident or by a sudden event. Collision coverage may cover an alignment if you ran into something and damaged your suspension, or drove over a massive pothole. But misalignment that occurs due to regular wear-and-tear, or alignments needed because of aftermarket height modifications you’ve added, would not be covered.
Even though collision coverage can cover alignment, it might not make sense to file a claim if the alignment is all you need. An alignment can cost hundreds of dollars less than your deductible, so it wouldn’t make sense to file a claim for alignment alone. You also risk raising your rates whenever you file a claim.
Car insurance can cover alignment if you have collision coverage as part of your policy
If someone else causes an accident and damages your alignment, the at-fault driver’s liability coverage will pay for your vehicle repairs
You should avoid filing a claim if the cost of the alignment is less than or close to the cost of your deductible
You should schedule an alignment with every other oil change, or around every 6,000 miles
Car insurance may cover alignment depending on the coverage in your policy and the circumstances of the damage. If the misalignment occurred because of a covered peril, like hitting a pothole or backing into a fire hydrant, then collision coverage would pay for the necessary repairs, including alignment.
But if your suspension was damaged by regular wear-and-tear or aftermarket height modifications, then car insurance won’t cover you.
Collision coverage covers damage to your car caused by colliding with something, like hitting another car or slamming into a pole. If you cause an accident, collision coverage will pay to repair your car, but if someone else causes an accident, their liability coverage would cover your vehicle repairs.
Like comprehensive coverage, which covers damage to your car when you’re not driving, collision coverage comes with a deductible, which is how much you need to pay for a covered claim. If the cost of your alignment is close to or less than your deductible, then it’s not worth filing a claim, because you’ll need to pay out of pocket for it either way.
Collision coverage will cover misalignment if it’s caused by a sudden collision, like accidentally running over a median, or if you back out of your driveway without looking and hit another car, but it may not be worth filing a claim if the only damage is the misalignment.
A wheel alignment can cost anywhere between $50 and $200, and if your deductible is set to $500 or $1,000, then you’ll have to pay for the repairs no matter what you do.
Filing a claim can also cause your rates to go up, so even if the cost of repairs is close to your deductible amount, it wouldn’t be worth the risk.
Car experts say you schedule an alignment every other oil change or every 6,000 miles or so. A properly aligned vehicle allows you to steer safely and precisely. When your vehicle’s suspension is adjusted, your tires can hit the road at a proper angle and wear evenly.
There are some warning signs you can look out for that might tell you it’s time for an alignment. Some of those include:
Your car steering to one side of the road
Quick or uneven wear and tear
A crooked steering wheel
Steering wheel vibration
If you experience any of these warning signs, you should get your car inspected immediately to get it fixed.
If you have collision coverage, your car insurance will cover damage from potholes, including a damaged rim and suspension. But even though pothole damage is covered, the cost to repair damage may be less than your deductible, so it wouldn’t be cost effective to file a claim.
Driving when you need an alignment can be dangerous. You could end up with steering problems, like a car that veers to the side when you try to drive straight, which could lead to an accident. Even if the misalignment isn’t significant, you could end up with uneven tire damage over time.
A car alignment may take about an hour. If parts of your car need to be replaced, it can take even longer. The exact time it takes also depends on the type of suspension system your vehicle has, the adjustments your vehicle needs, and any complications that come up.
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