Does Homeowner's Insurance Cover the Cost of Car Damages That Occur in an Attached Garage?

Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff |  

When you purchased your homeowner's insurance policy, you probably didn't think about how it would affect your auto insurance coverage. In fact, homeowner's insurance and auto insurance occasionally intersect in certain specific circumstances. If you store your car in an attached garage, it's possible that you'll develop firsthand experience with this unusual intersection. Although your garage is a relatively safe place, it can sustain structural or cosmetic damage in numerous ways. Likewise, the contents of your garage are at risk for a wide range of unpleasant events. For instance, the presence of volatile solvents, gasoline and car batteries could create a significant fire hazard.

If your garage catches on fire or sustains damage from a falling tree limb, it's likely that one of your insurance policies will cover the associated costs. The quality of this coverage and the manner in which it must be disbursed will depend upon the circumstances surrounding the incident as well as the specific provisions of your policies.

If you have "comprehensive" insurance as part of your auto insurance policy, it will cover the costs of any damage that your car sustains in your attached garage. If you don't have this "comprehensive" coverage, it's unlikely that your auto insurer will agree to make any payments. Instead, your homeowner's insurance policy may step up to cover some of the associated costs. It's important to note that your homeowner's provider may prove reticent to cover the full cost of your car's damages. If your vehicle is totaled, it may offer a partial settlement that doesn't accurately reflect the vehicle's full value. After a particularly costly incident, you may need to take aggressive measures to ensure that you're fairly compensated. You might even need to hire a lawyer.

However, most homeowner's insurance policies do explicitly cover the "contents" of the homes to which they're attached. In the past, this language has been interpreted to include the contents of a home's attached garage. Despite the fact that your car is covered by its own insurance policy, it counts as a home-bound item when garaged. Although the claims adjuster who reviews your case may try to tell you that your homeowner's insurance policy doesn't cover vehicle-related claims, you'll be able to refute this assertion by pointing to your policy's fine print. Again, you may need to retain a lawyer to back up your case. You'll also need to prove that the damage to your garage was accidental and non-negligent.

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