Garage doors play an integral role in the security of your home. When a garage door gets damaged, it can leave your house vulnerable to break–ins, coldness and property damage due to weather exposure. However, when a garage door does get damaged, it’s often wondered if the damage is covered by insurance and, if so, what policy, especially when there’s a car involved. Consequently, Google is flanked with inquiries such as “will homeowners insurance cover broken garage door,” “what to do when backed car into garage door,” and “hit garage door with car insurance. Now what?” Truth is, the answers differ according to various factors.
What if Someone Crashes Into Your Garage Door?
Auto insurance policies vary from state to state, but most states require motorists to be insured with liability coverage, which covers the expenses that motorists inflict on the vehicles and property of others. As such, garage door damage is usually covered in full or in part under most auto insurance policies. However, there are cases where someone could hit your garage door with car insurance, but not be fully accountable for the cost of your repairs. Therefore, the question should be broken down into what to do in various situations, depending on whether the driver does or doesn’t have insurance.
Will Their Car Insurance Cover the Damage? If a drunk or otherwise negligent driver veers off the road and crashes into your garage door, the damage should largely be covered under his or her auto insurance policy. However, said driver will need to have auto insurance in order for you to collect any money. If your home is hit by an undocumented driver, you’ll need to rely on different insurance for coverage.
Will My Homeowners Insurance Cover the Damage? When the cost of garage door damage exceeds the coverage of the negligent party’s insurance, your homeowners insurance should cover the remaining amount. If the negligent party is uninsured, your homeowners insurance should cover most or all of the damage to your garage door. Do bear in mind that insurance doesn’t always cover the full amount, regardless of whether you draw upon car insurance, homeowners insurance or both
Under What Circumstances Is it Best to File a Claim? In the majority of situations, you should claim as much as possible to cover a damaged garage door. However, there are limits to how much a given policy will cover when it comes to garage door damage. In some cases, such as when you have to rely solely on homeowners insurance, the deductibles might exceed the amount of coverage that you’d actually receive for door repairs. Therefore, it’s best to weigh the benefits of any claim that doesn’t promise to fully cover the damage to your garage door, especially if the claim is on your homeowners insurance.
When Is it Best to Pay Out of Pocket? If the damage to your door is minor, it might be best to pay for repairs upfront and forgo the option of getting insurance companies involved. Likewise, if you’d end up paying deductibles that account for more than half of the garage door repair costs, you might be better off not making any claim, especially if doing so will only cause the premiums on your homeowners insurance to go up. Filing a claim could also be unwise in
- The garage door was already in poor condition.
- You’ve already filed one or more claims on property damage within the past year.
- You’re behind on your insurance premiums.
How Do I File a Claim? When your garage door is hit by a motorist, you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Before you call, however, you’ll want to take notes and photos of the damage. That way, you’ll be better equipped to describe the extent and nature of the damage over the phone to your insurance representative. The types of details to note could include:
- How many square feet were affected by the impact of the vehicle?
- Is the door intact yet knocked slight ajar, or is it smashed right through?
- Is the door salvageable, or must it be replaced outright?
- Aside from the door itself, was any damage caused to your property, such as other vehicles or stored belongings?
- Did the impact compromise the integrity of the surrounding structure to your house?
What if YOU Crash Into Your Garage Door?
Most people agree that when a stranger leaves you with a damaged garage door, he or she should pay for the cost of repairs. However, when garage door damage is caused instead by the homeowner, confusion about coverage ensues. Consequently, insurance representatives are commonly flanked with the inquiry: does homeowners insurance cover garage door repairs when the homeowner is responsible?
The answer is yes and no. Depending on the extent of your insurance policy, you might be entitled to a sizable or insignificant sum of coverage for self–inflicted garage door damage, whether you’ve backed your car into your garage door or hit it straight on. Therefore, each variable of a “backed into garage door insurance claim”–type scenario should be looked at individually.
Will My Car Insurance Cover Damage I Cause to My Own Property? If you happen to crash your car or truck into your garage door, your own auto insurance won’t cover any of the damage unless you have a comprehensive policy. Most states only require liability coverage, which covers any damage that you might inflict on other drivers and their vehicles or property. Consequently, most drivers don’t have comprehensive coverage, because the premiums are higher. If you do have comprehensive coverage, you might opt to file a claim on that instead of your homeowners insurance, especially if your vehicle was also damaged in the incident.
Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Damage Where I’m at Fault? A Section II homeowners insurance policy with liability coverage will cover most types of damage to a residential property. As such, homeowners insurance will offer partial and sometimes full coverage for damaged garage door repairs. However, the cause of said damage could affect the amount of money you’d receive. If you are the driver responsible for the damage to your garage door, you might get less off your homeowners insurance than you would in a case where a third party is at fault. Furthermore, your own negligence in the matter could cause your premiums to go up.
When Is it Wise to File an Insurance Claim on Damage I Cause? If you damage your garage door to the point where it cannot be salvaged, you’re probably best off seeking as much coverage for a new door as your insurance will allow. However, your own negligence in the accident will likely affect your insurance premiums, and this could impact the usefulness of a claim. Additionally, the deductibles could outweigh the coverage, which could render a claim financially unwise when the rise in premiums are taken into account.
When Is it Best to Swallow the Cost of Garage Door Repairs? If your insurance policy will only cover a small portion of the overall cost for a garage door replacement, it might be best to abstain from making an insurance claim. Due to your own fault in the matter, your premiums would likely increase after filing such a claim. If the annual difference to your premiums outweigh the amount that you’d be able to collect, it could be in your best interest to pay out of pocket and save your insurance for situations in which you’re not at fault.
What Evidence Must I Present When Filing a Claim? If you accidentally back into your garage door or fail to put the brakes on when pulling into the driveway, you’ll need to document the damage. Photos could be your best piece of evidence when filing a claim, but you’ll also want to take notes of any and all damage to your garage door and the belongings inside. If you are filing a claim with your comprehensive auto insurance to cover vehicular damage sustained in the impact, you’ll also need to take visual and descriptive record of the damage to your car or truck.
What if Your Teenage Son or Daughter Crashes Into Your Garage Door?
One of the biggest events in a teenager’s life is when he or she first takes the wheel of an automobile. In most states, the age at which a minor can obtain a driver’s license is sixteen. While the topic has long been a source of controversy, social scientists generally agree that people are most adept at learning new skills at young ages. Therefore, it’s considered appropriate that teens be given the opportunity to drive as soon as they’re tall enough to handle the head–to–foot controls of a driver’s seat.
Nonetheless, the relative inexperience of teen drivers makes them risky in the eyes of insurance companies. For that reason, premiums are higher, and hikes are steeper, when you include your teen on an auto insurance policy. Consequently, garage door damage caused by your teenaged offspring could ultimately be costlier than anything done by you or some negligent third party.
Would Comprehensive Car Insurance Cover the Damage? If your son or daughter crashes into your garage door, and the teen is included on your comprehensive auto insurance policy, the same rules would apply as if you crashed into the door yourself. Basically, you could collect some or all of the repair costs, depending on the extent of damages. However, your premiums would go up due to the in–house negligence of the incident. In fact, the hike in premiums could even be higher than it would be if you were the driver at fault, because auto insurance rates are generally higher with any policy that involves teenagers.
Would My Homeowners Insurance Cover Damage Caused by Family? Homeowners insurance is generally a more viable option when it comes to damage caused by family–driven vehicles. If your son crashes head on through your garage door, a homeowners policy should cover a significant portion of repair costs. Still, the fact of the damage being caused by a household member could negatively impact your insurance, despite the incident being at the hands of your teenage offspring and not you, the policyholder.
How Would His/Her Negligence Affect Your Insurance? When a parent includes a teenaged offspring on an auto insurance policy, the policyholder — i.e. the parent — is held liable when costly mishaps occur behind the wheel, regardless of who was actually driving at the time of a given incident. Therefore, your insurance premiums will go up, despite your own personal innocence in the situation. After all, allowing teenagers to drive is a dicey proposition. It’s one of the risks that you take as a parent while letting your children mature into adulthood. Nonetheless, if your garage door is damaged due to reckless driving on the part of your teenager, you should probably strip him or her of driving privileges.
Should I File an Insurance Claim, or Pay for a Garage Door Replacement Through Other Means? If the damage is major, you should definitely examine the pros of filing a claim on your homeowners insurance. However, the negligence of your teenage offspring in the situation could negatively impact your premiums. Therefore, if the damage is minor and the coverage is low, but the potential consequences are high, you’d be wiser to buy a garage door replacement with money in your bank. You could even have your offspring bear part or all of the cost, depending on the teenager’s level of negligence in the incident.
What if Someone Vandalizes Your Garage Door?
When people think of homeowners insurance, they usually think of circumstances involving fire or theft, as those are completely undesired yet very plausible. Vandalism, on the other hand, doesn’t cross the minds of many homeowners who live in peaceful communities where crime rates are low. After all, what would be the motive behind causing garage door damage on purpose? Nonetheless, garage door vandalism sometimes does occur. Which leads to the question: does homeowners insurance cover garage door repairs for damage caused by vandals? If so, how does one go about the process of filing a claim?
Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Vandalism? If your house is vandalized, homeowners insurance will cover the damage. However, you’ll first need to file a police report on the incident of vandalism in question. If you know the party responsible for the vandalism at hand, you’ll want to report that information as well. While insurance companies understand that it’s the vandal and not the homeowner who’s at fault in such incidents, some form of proof is needed to show that the damage in question is the result of a vandal and not the fraudulent act a homeowner seeking to cash in on a policy.
How Much Should I Expect to Collect for Vandalism to My Garage Door? A homeowners insurance policy should cover most of the damage that your garage door incurs during an incident of vandalism. However, if you have a very basic form of coverage, the amount that you’d receive would be insignificant in comparison to the deductibles. If the damage is minor and easily fixable — such as graffiti or pelting — you might be better off saving your insurance for more serious situations, especially if you’ve already filed more than one claim within the past half–decade. After all, insurers lose sympathy when numerous claims are filed by the same policyholder.
Where Do I Report Garage Door Vandalism When Filing a Claim? The moment you discover vandalism to your garage door, phone your local police. Present photos and descriptions of the damage, along with names and details of the suspects. If you have no idea who might have been responsible, just provide as much information as you can. There might be a pattern of similar incidents in your area, and any info you provide could help police catch the party responsible. Authorities might even come to your property to examine the damage for evidence that could help them break the case.
How Do I Prevent Garage Door Vandalism? Homeowners never ask to have their property vandalized, but some homes are easier targets than others. If vandals sense that your home is a sitting duck, they might act on their impulses if it’s late at night or you appear not to be at home. One way to inhibit vandals is with an alarm system that could sound off if they get too close to your house. For isolated homes, property arms are a must. If you live in a populated community, a neighborhood watch warning sign on your mail box or garage door could serve as a deterrent to anyone who thinks of throwing rocks or pulling out spray paint.
What if Your Garage Door Gets Damaged By Fire or Storms?
Garage doors are damaged first and foremost by automobiles, which aren’t one of the foremost perils to houses in general. Fire, on the other hand, is often the first thing that a homeowner will think about when taking out an insurance policy. Fires, of course, are a very real threat. Between 2010 and 2014, fire losses ranked highest among homeowner policyholders, with an average of $39,791 per claim according to the Insurance Information Institute. Another basic peril is wind/hail storms, which is the most common category under which damage claims are made. In that same four–year period, 3.13 percent of policyholders filed claims on damages caused by wind and hail. Overall, however, homeowners insurance varies in terms of what it will cover when it comes to garage door damage caused by natural forces and elements.
Will Homeowners Insurance Cover a Burned Garage Door? As one of the foremost perils covered under basic homeowners insurance, fire damage to any part of your home will indeed be covered by your policy. Granted, fire damage is rarely isolated to just one part of a home. While fires can start anywhere, they’re most likely to start in areas where heating appliances are located. Therefore, fires don’t generally originate in garages, and are rarely contained to just garage doors. Consequently, one of the likelier causes of fire burn to a garage door could involve a mishap with a blowtorch, which would turn the matter into a personal liability issue and therefore require Section II coverage.
Can I File a Claim on Garage Door Damage Caused by Flooding or Hurricanes? Natural disasters generally fall outside the basic perils covered under standard insurance policies. Admittedly, this is largely due to the high costs that insurers must field when disasters strike within a community. Unlike theft and fires, which generally affect select homes and buildings within a given time span, natural disasters can devastate entire cities and townships. Therefore, if a flood, hurricane or earthquake damages your home, you’d need special–form disaster insurance to cover the repairs to your garage door or any other part of your property.
In What Circumstances Will Homeowners Insurance Not Cover a Damaged Garage Door? If your garage is not attached to your home, it might not be covered under your homeowners insurance policy because the garage isn’t technically part of your home. Specifically, a Coverage A policy under Section I will not cover a detached garage because it’s not part of your physical dwelling, per say. For the other structures on your property, including the garage, you’d need a Coverage B policy or higher.
Garage Door Service and Maintenance from Stapley Action Garage Door
When your garage door gets damaged, the problem should be rectified as soon as possible. Don’t let damage to your garage door jeopardize your home for any passage of days or weeks. If you need maintenance on your garage door, contact Stapley Action Garage Door today for a free estimate on service and repair.