Who's liable if a car damages my property?

If a car crashes into your home, mailbox, or fence, or damages anything else on your property, and the driver is found at fault, they're liable for the damage. Almost all states require drivers to have a minimum amount of property damage liability coverage on their auto policy. This coverage may help pay for any damage to your home or property.

However, if their coverage isn't enough to pay for all the necessary repairs, your homeowners insurance may cover damage beyond the coverage limits of the driver's or vehicle owner's auto liability policy. Standard homeowners insurance policies usually list vehicle damage as a type of covered peril.

Standard homeowners insurance policies usually list vehicle damage as a type of "covered peril."

If the driver is uninsured, who pays for the damage?

If a car crashes into your home and the driver is uninsured, your homeowners insurance may cover the damage; however, you may be responsible for paying the home insurance deductible. You could file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver, but you may be stuck with court costs and see no payout for years, even if you win.

Keep in mind that your insurance may not cover the repair costs if they're less than your deductible. Check with your insurer or agent to make sure your policy would cover the damage. You should also get a repair estimate from a qualified professional to make sure the repair cost will exceed your deductible. If the repair cost is higher than your deductible, then it's generally worth filing a claim.

What are the odds of a driver hitting my house?

If your home is situated far from the road, the risk of someone crashing into it is low. However, if you live along a busy highway or on a sharp curve, the risk increases significantly. A distracted driver, poor weather conditions, and a host of other factors can result in a vehicle losing control and crashing into your home. The more likely scenario is having your fence or mailbox impacted.

Even if the damage seems minimal, make sure to document it thoroughly by taking pictures. If the damage is more extensive, the payout amount may have to cover more than just repairs. For example, if your home is deemed uninhabitable, you'll need to consider the cost of alternative housing until repairs have been completed.

What if I caused the damage (for example, I hit my mailbox)?

If you caused the damage, whether it's knocking over your mailbox or backing into your garage door, your auto insurance likely won't cover the cost, and you may be responsible for the out-of-pocket expenses. If the damage to the property costs more than your homeowners deductible, it might be worth filing a claim through your homeowners insurance. Consult your insurer or agent to confirm that your policy will cover the damage.

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