Does Insurance Cover a Broken Tail Light? (2023)

No one enjoys dealing with car troubles, especially ones so seemingly little as a broken tail light. However, it is technically illegal to operate a vehicle with a broken tail light! Most police officers would simply pull you over to inform you of this malfunction. Others, however, may issue a citation or even a ticket!

Does insurance cover a broken tail light? The answer depends on two factors: what caused the damage to your tail light and what type of auto insurance you have. If the tail light was damaged in an accident, and you have collision insurance, your policy should cover repairs to the tail light. If, however, the tail light broke due to poor vehicle maintenance, your insurance company is under no obligation to pay for the repairs.

So, how do you know if your broken tail light will be covered by insurance? Is there any situation in which it is not beneficial to file a claim for this type of maintenance issue? How much does it cost to fix a broken tail light?

In this post, we will share the answers to these, and other, questions regarding the tail lights on your vehicle. Keep reading to learn more about how to maximize your insurance coverage for situations such as a broken tail light!

Questions to Ask Regarding a Broken Tail Light

Whether you immediately realize that your tail light is broken, or you don’t notice it until a police officer pulls you over to inform you of the issue, there are a few questions that you should ask yourself.

What Caused the Damage to Your Tail Light?

The first question you must ask yourself when determining whether insurance will cover the repairs to your broken tail light is what caused the damage? Were you in a recent car accident?

Even a minor fender bender can cause damage to your tail light that renders it useless. If your tail light was broken in a documented accident, there is a good chance that your insurance policy may cover the repairs. For this reason, it is important to assess the damage to your car after any type of collision.

In some cases, a broken tail light is not caused by an accident but rather by poor vehicle maintenance. Unfortunately, your insurance policy will not pay for the repairs to a broken tail light (or door dings, for that matter) caused by neglect or poor maintenance.

Although it is rare, a broken tail light may be caused by a falling tree, storm debris, or other covered incident. If you have a comprehensive auto insurance policy and your tail light was broken in this way, you will likely have coverage for the cost of repairs.

What Type of Auto Insurance Do You Have?

Auto insurance policies vary greatly from bare minimum coverage to comprehensive plans. Most, if not all, states require minimum coverage for drivers to legally operate their vehicles on public roadways. In most cases, minimum coverage will not pay for repairs to broken tail lights.

Many drivers choose to invest in collision coverage to provide an added layer of protection. If your tail light was broken in an accident, and you have collision coverage, you will likely not have to pay out-of-pocket to repair the damage.

Finally, some individuals select a comprehensive auto insurance policy. Often chosen by drivers of expensive vehicles, comprehensive auto insurance covers not only damage caused by accidents but also unforeseen damage caused by things such as theft, vandalism, and even storms. In most cases, your comprehensive auto coverage will cover the cost of repairing a tail light that was broken in a covered incident.

Should You File an Insurance Claim for a Broken Tail Light?

Just because you may be able to file an insurance claim for a broken tail light does not always mean that you should! In some situations, filing a claim may end up costing you more in the long run than simply paying for the repairs to your broken tail light.

If you are deciding whether or not to file an insurance claim, first research how much it would cost to pay for the out-of-pocket repairs. After filing a claim for a broken tail light, your insurance premiums may go up, raising your costs for future years.

Most often, drivers find that the cost of paying out-of-pocket to repair their broken tail light is less than their insurance deductible. In this situation, it is wise to go this route and avoid filing an insurance claim.

What If Insurance Refuses to Cover a Broken Tail Light?

So, what do you do if your insurance company has refused coverage for something that is included in your policy? While this is not common, it does take place. If, for some reason, you feel as if you have been denied coverage you rightfully deserve, you can always work with a lawyer to further investigate the issue. However, for something as small as a broken tail light, this is not advised.

What Happens If I Don’t Fix My Broken Tail Light?

Does Insurance Cover a Broken Tail Light? (1)Is a broken tail light something that you must fix immediately? Technically, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a broken or missing tail light. However, this does not necessarily mean it is an emergency repair.

Most police officers will pull you over if they notice that your tail light is missing or broken. This is often a simple service to make sure you are aware of the issue.

It is in their rights, however, to issue you a warning or even a citation for this maintenance issue! For this reason, we recommend repairing your broken tail light as soon as you are made aware of it.

A broken tail light leaves the potential for a traffic citation. However, it also poses a safety threat to both yourself and other drivers. Make the responsible decision to repair the broken tail light in a timely fashion.

How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Broken Tail Light?

Fortunately, the cost of fixing a broken tail light is rather low! The average cost for this type of repair varies depending on the make and model of your car. Your location and the extent of the damage to the tail light will also impact the cost.

If you require a replacement tail light, the cost will likely run somewhere between $200 to $1,500. Simple repairs, however, often cost much less. For handy drivers, tail lights are often relatively easy to repair and replace with simple tools! DIY tail light repairs run an average of $25-$300 depending on the parts you must order.

The cost of repairing a broken tail light is usually less than your deductible. For this reason, it is often advised to pay for this expense out-of-pocket. By doing so, you avoid the hassle and added cost of an insurance claim for such a minor issue.

Finding the Best Auto Insurance Coverage for Your Needs

There is nothing more frustrating than having an issue with your vehicle that you must pay for out of pocket. For this reason, it is important to regularly assess your needs with an experienced insurance agent. Doing so can save you money in the long run by attaining coverage for expensive repair and maintenance issues.

A broken tail light is certainly inconvenient and frustrating. However, it is one of the least expensive and time-consuming repairs to your vehicle. Whether your insurance policy covers this type of repair or not, you will have a fully functional car in no time!


Will insurance cover a broken tail light? ›

In most cases, basic liability coverage will only cover broken tail light or headlights if the damaged occurred from a car accident and you were not the driver at fault. is covered under your insurance policy, the costs of filing a claim can outweigh the benefits.

What do I do if my tail light cover is broken? ›

The good news? You probably don't need to have the light fixture repaired immediately, but you will want do a temporary fix at home. If you simply have a crack in your tail light cover, some craft glue may do the trick. But, if the damage is more severe, you'll want to cover the exposed area with some lens repair tape.

How much does a broken tail light cost? ›

The average cost to replace your tail light bulb is $20 - $100. Pricing may vary based on the type of car you have, as well as the type of (and quality) auto shop that you go to.

How much does it cost to fix a broken tail light cover? ›

The Average Cost for Tail Light Cover Replacement Is $50 to $300 Depending on If You Go to the Mechanic or DIY. This price range is based on national averages for all vehicles and does not factor in taxes, fees, or your particular make and model.

What does tail insurance cover? ›

Tail coverage is an addition to a claims-made policy. It extends coverage for incidents that happened during the time you had your policy, but a claim was not filed until after your policy expired or was canceled. Tail coverage is another name for an extended reporting period.

What is considered a broken tail light? ›

A broken taillight becomes illegal when instead of showing a red or amber light at the rear, it shows as white. It can be broken or cracked but as long as it doesn't show white light, you should be fine.

Can you put tape over a broken tail light? ›

When a taillight or turn signal light cracks, 3M Lens Repair Tape is the answer for a quick repair that will securely hold. The repair tape combines benefits that include exceptional clarity, strong adhesion and a reliable bond. Available in both red and amber, the tape is low profile in appearance when applied.

Is fixing a tail light easy? ›

Changing your tail light bulbs is an easy form of maintenance that you can perform on your vehicle. Before you begin - or if you have any questions about your specific vehicle - we always recommend taking a look at your service manual.

How long does it take to fix a broken tail light? ›

Fortunately, tail light bulb replacement isn't difficult and shouldn't take you more than 45 minutes to an hour to complete. Be aware that newer models may be a little more complicated than older ones, as there will be more wires to disconnect.

Can you drive with one broken tail light? ›

Is It Illegal to Have A Cracked Tail Light Cover? Driving with a broken tail light is against the law. Every car is required to have two taillights in working condition. Additionally, all tail light lenses have to be clear.

Does AutoZone change tail lights for free? ›

While AutoZone doesn't offer actual brake light replacement services, our team can assist you with any questions about the process, help you find the right products to get started, and maybe even give you a hand. How do you remove a brake light to replace it?

What causes a tail light to break? ›

There are several reasons why your tail lights aren't working, including a bad light bulb, damaged fuse, and corroded light socket. While you could try to solve the problem yourself, it's better to leave it to professional mechanics like RepairSmith.

How much is it to replace a whole tail light? ›

If your tail light bulb gets broken, it generally costs between $20-$100 for the repair. What is this? If it's the lens, the wiring, or a new tail light assembly altogether, the new price range for 2022 is between $200-$2000.

How long do you have to fix a broken tail light? ›

Even if it is for an equipment issue as you mentioned, it is expected and trusted that you will correct it as soon as possible. If you notice an equipment issue, my advice is to fix it as soon as possible.

Can you put red tape over a broken tail light? ›

If you chose to do so, red tape should only be utilized as a temporary fix and not a repair. Ray, I've seen motorists who opt to put the red tape on their tail lamps instead of replacing the broken lamp, and in my opinion, YES, you can be stopped and cited for the defective tail lamp.

Can you fix your own broken tail light? ›

Use a Lense Repair Kit to Fix It Yourself

Remove the taillight lens; Repair any cracks on the lens with repairs tape; This is only a temporary fix; Clean and dry the area where you want to apply the tape.

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