Rollover accidents are rare but deadly. Although rollover crashes make up less than 3 percent of all crashes, they account for more than one-third of all vehicle occupant deaths, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Auto insurance coverage for rollover accidents
Minimum liability coverage will cover the guardrails you break and injuries you cause if the rollover is your fault. But it won't do anything for your car or your injuries. Some types of coverage that can help you recover from a rollover include:
- Personal injury protection or medical payments coverage. These types of insurance cover your injuries and hospital bills. Personal injury protection even compensates you for lost wages.
- Collision and comprehensive insurance. These optional types of insurance will cover damage to your car, even if the rollover was your fault.
- Uninsured motorist coverage. If the rollover is another driver's fault, but that driver doesn't have insurance, this will cover your injuries and damage to your car.
Rollovers happen when the driver loses control. When this happens, guardrails, loose rocks or gravel, or uneven or sloped roads can cause the vehicle to tip over, according to IIHS. In other cases, rollovers can happen when a driver attempts to turn the vehicle too aggressively -- by turning the wheel while traveling at a high speed, for example, or by attempting to make a tight turn.
Rollover risks are not the same for all vehicles. SUVs and pickup trucks are more likely to roll over than cars are, according to IIHS, and some SUV models are particularly vulnerable to rollovers. In general, vehicles with a higher center of gravity are more likely to roll over in accidents.
Automakers are building features into new vehicles in an attempt to cut down on rollover accidents. For example, many vehicles now come with electronic stability control. This feature applies pressure to individual wheel brakes when an internal computer senses that the vehicle isn't responding correctly to the driver's steering (a precursor to rollovers).
Aside from buying vehicles with modern technology and lower centers of gravity, there are some other things that drivers can do to minimize the risk of rollovers, according to State Farm:
- Adjust your route. If you drive a rollover-prone car, choose smooth, paved roads whenever possible.
- Avoid loading too much gear onto a roof rack, as this can make the vehicle top-heavy.
- Drive defensively. Leaving ample space between vehicles and watching out for other drivers can prevent you from making the kind of panic maneuvers that cause rollovers.