Will my car insurance cover me if I hit a pole?

Hit a pole? Your car insurance policy might cover that.

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We've all done it before; accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake and ran into a pole that you swear wasn't there before. The good news is that if you've got comprehensive cover you'll probably be covered for any damages.

If you've got comprehensive car insurance you'll probably be covered.

You might not be covered if you don't have comprehensive cover.

Protect future-you. Compare comprehensive car insurance.

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: With Coles comprehensive car insurance, you could earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. Also, get up to $200 for damaged or stolen groceries. Get 10% off your first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Australia Post Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Australia Post car insurance offers comprehensive cover for things like theft, fire, new for old replacement and emergency accommodation and transport. Cover also extends to anyone who uses your car, not just you. Get $75 online discount + $100 gift card when you purchase by 11 July 2021. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: If multiple people use the one car and you don’t want to worry about listing all drivers.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price. Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs Apply.
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost plus you will get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. Budget Direct's claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary:Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics, so you don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and unless you add it as an option, you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value. Plus you can also earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up today and earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.
PD Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed
Finder's summary: PD comprehensive car insurance policy lets you buy, manage, and start your claims process online. It includes cover for emergency repairs up to $500 and free windscreen chip repair. Ability to customise your extras cover. New policyholders can enjoy 15% off on their first year's premium. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those with low claims history and the only driver.
QBE Comprehensive
Green Company
QBE Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: QBE is a sustainable insurance company and also Finder's Green Insurer of the Year 2021 Award winner. This policy offers the highest level of protection available from QBE including three-year new car replacement. You can also save $75 when you purchase a new comprehensive policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those that are looking for a more environmentally friendly insurance choice.
Stella Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. It'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. It offers higher cover for baby gear than most, with up to $2,000 cover for prams, strollers and child seats. Get $50 cash back when you purchase online between 1 April – 30 June 2021 using the code STELLA50. T&C apply.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a female-centred car insurance policy (it will cover men too).
Poncho Comprehensive
Agreed
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription – you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at any time. You can also list multiple cars and drivers under one policy, making it ideal for families and groups living together under one household.

Who it might be good for: People who want their car insurance month to month.
ahm Comprehensive
Optional
Both
Finder's summary: ahm comprehensive car insurance lets you choose higher excess to reduce your premiums plus you can get up to 15% off when you purchase a new car insurance policy. T&Cs apply. Additionally, their Fixed Kilometre Plan can save you up to 30% compared to their standard comprehensive cover.

Who it might be good for: People who drive less than 15,000 km per year.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in its policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also has a live chat feature on its site to talk through any questions.

Who it might be good for: People over 25 who want comprehensive cover with a focus on customer service
Real Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Real Comprehensive Car Insurance provides similar coverage to other insurers for the important stuff like looking after your car if it's stolen or you crash. They're also one of the few insurers who offer a Pay As You Drive policy, so you might be able to save big if you don't drive much.

Who it might be good for: Those that don't drive much can take advantage of their Pay As You Drive policy.
Huddle Black Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Huddle's black comprehensive is its cover with highest limits and exclusive benefits. It includes roadside assistance. You can also get up to $2,000 for emergency travel and accommodation and up to $30 million legal liability cover.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a 24/7 claims processing.
Woolworths Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Woolworths catches our eye due to some unique perks like a price-beat guarantee, where it'll beat any current comparable comprehensive renewal notice if you're over 25. You'll also get 10% off your grocery shop once a month and can add roadside assistance onto your policy for just $7.35 per month.

Who it might be good for: Woolworths shoppers and those that want to take advantage of its price-beat guarantee.
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Which policies cover this type of damage?

Generally, the only kind of policy that will pay out for this kind of accident is comprehensive car insurance.

The only circumstances where cheaper third-party fire and theft car insurance will generally cover you are if:

  • a thief stole your car and then drove it into a tree, a pole or other solid object; or
  • an uninsured driver, without third-party insurance of their own, was responsible for you running into the pole.

If you have comprehensive car insurance then it should cover the cost of repairs to your car, in line with the policy terms.

For example, your policy will probably cover the cost if you accidentally skidded on a wet road, despite driving prudently; or if you had to swerve to avoid a kangaroo.

However, you probably won’t be able to make a claim if you hit the pole because you were driving whilst drunk, or even if you were driving sober but refused to take a drug or alcohol test at the scene of the accident.

Would I have to pay for damage to the pole?

It depends on who the pole belongs to and the exact circumstances of the crash, but typically yes, you will have to pay for the damage.

Fortunately, your car insurance should cover the cost, thanks to “third-party liability insurance”, which is included with all the main types of car insurance.

In this case, the “third party” refers to whoever owns the pole, and “liability” refers to your obligation to pay for the damage.

What should I do after an accident?

If you’ve been involved in an accident you should take the following steps:

  • Assess the situation. If it’s serious, for example if someone is injured, or you hit an electricity pole and caused a blackout, then you should call emergency services.
  • Gather information: Record any information that will be required. If reasonable to do so, write down the details of the accident while it’s fresh in your mind and take photos, or have someone take them for you.
  • Decide who to call: Call emergency services first if necessary. You should also call your insurer as soon as reasonably possible. The insurer can usually arrange a tow truck, approve the cost of towing if needed, and may also be able to approve necessary repairs quickly.
  • Wait at the scene: Unless it is unsafe, you shouldn’t leave the scene until towing has been arranged. If your car is damaged you shouldn’t attempt to drive it away. Doing so might cause further damage and jeopardise your claim.

Will I be fined?

Generally not; car accidents themselves are not a fineable offence. However, the driving that causes them might be. If you do get fined after running into a pole or a tree it’s probably for the traffic infringement that led to the accident, rather than the accident itself. Fines are not covered by car insurance.

You won’t be “fined” for damage to the pole, tree or other property either, but you might be held liable for the cost of repair. This will generally be covered by third-party property car insurance.

Am I covered if I hit road debris?

Yes. Hitting road debris can be covered in the same way as hitting a pole.

The main difference is that if you hit road debris, it’s probably less likely to be your fault than hitting a tree. It’s possible that whoever was responsible for it being on the road might be held liable, in which case their third-party car insurance may pay for the damage to your vehicle.

However, this can only happen if the person responsible can be identified. If not, you might have to make an “at fault” claim, as you would if you drove into a tree.


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