How your auto insurance covers accidents that happen at home
Accidents happen anywhere, anytime. A fair amount of time, accidents happen close to home, too. And, of those times, a respectable number of accidents can happen right at home — in your driveway, in the garage, at the curb, etc.
If you're one of the many people who've been involved in an accident that happens at home, do you know how your auto insurance company will handle your claim? Here are a few common scenarios of accidents that happen at home and how they're often handled by insurance companies. Because your policy and coverages may differ from the examples below, refer to your policy for your particular situation.
Hitting a Parked Car
If you're backing out of the garage and you graze your friend's car, most likely the damage to both cars will be covered by your auto policy if you have the proper coverages. Though the accident may happen in your driveway, it's still treated as a regular claim on your policy. Liability coverage should apply to any damage you cause to your friend's car, and if you have collision coverage for your own vehicle, it should apply in this case.
But what happens if you graze your spouse's car in the driveway? Is the damage to both vehicles covered? In short, yes, though some caveats may apply. For instance, if both you and your spouse are on the same auto policy, and both vehicles involved in the accident are listed on that policy, the damage is covered slightly differently than the first scenario given.
In this case, collision coverage likely will apply to both vehicles since you own them and they're both listed on the policy. Remember that you must have collision coverage for both vehicles in order to receive and use the coverage for both vehicles. If only one of your vehicles has collision coverage, your insurer will only pay for the repairs to that vehicle. Your policy lists types of exclusions for each coverage, and often one of the exclusions of liability coverage is that it will not apply to any vehicles you own. That's why collision coverage would be used for both cars involved in this accident. Standard collision deductibles most likely will apply, too.
Backing Into the Mailbox
What happens if you're leaving for work and you hit the mailbox or some other object that isn't a vehicle? Is the damage to the mailbox covered?
If you own your house, the damage to your mailbox likely would not be covered. If you rent your home, the damage would be covered.
Your policy outlines when damage is covered and when it isn't, and most policies state that if you own property, damage you cause to that property would not be covered by your auto insurance. If you rent your home, you probably don't own the mailbox, so it would be covered by your auto policy if you ran over it.
If someone vandalizes your car and breaks the windows while you're sleeping, comprehensive coverage would apply to your vehicle. If you have comprehensive on your auto policy when the incident occurred, damage to your car would be covered.
Items Falling on Your Car
What if a strong storm blows through and knocks a tree limb on top of your car? Or maybe something in the garage falls on top of your car and dents it. Does your auto insurance apply? In these situations, if you have comprehensive coverage, your auto insurance company would pay for the repairs to your vehicle, minus your deductible, of course.
Keep in mind that insurance policies differ by state, by the company you choose and in the coverages you purchase. Refer to your policy for your particular coverages and exclusions.
For all accidents, it's best to contact your insurance company and report them, after which your company should be able to handle your claim properly according to your policy.
The information in this blog may vary based on your particular state or situation. Always refer to your insurance policy for your specific coverages.