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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Car Damage in My Driveway?

concrete driveway

If your garage is malfunctioning, or you just like to have your car ready-steady in the morning, it’s probably parked in the driveway 24/7. That eliminates the need to open and close the garage door and also frees up much-needed space. But what if someone crashes into your vehicle while it’s still there? Will your homeowners insurance cover the damages? And what about a falling tree, for example?

The answer is no; standard homeowners insurance won’t pay for any of that. Instead, you’ll have to rely on your auto insurance for compensation. However, if it was you crashing into someone’s car, that same insurance will cover the expenses. Yes, it can be a bit complicated. So, join us, and let’s get to the bottom of this!

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Homeowners Insurance: The Definition

This is one of the most widely used types of insurance in the States. Essentially, it covers damages to one’s house and assets. That’s the official definition. In simpler words, any interior or exterior damage to the property will be covered by the insurance. On top of that, if you have something broken or stolen, the company will lend a helping hand. The same is true for any potential injuries you get while at home.

Now, there are lots of different coverage options to choose from. And they all have set limits that determine exactly how big the compensation will be. Pay extra attention to this: don’t rush to sign the papers! Better yet, talk to at least 2–3 insurance companies before you make a decision. This will help you get the best deal. A quick note: while it’s often mistaken with a home warranty, homeowners insurance is NOT the same thing.

homeowners insurance
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

Does It Protect Against Natural Disasters?

It all depends on the nature of the hazard. For example, acts of God are not covered by standard homeowners insurance. We’re talking about disasters like storms, floods, earthquakes, or any other unanticipated natural event that damages your vehicle (or the house, for that matter). With that said, depending on your insurance company’s policy, they might pay for tornado, wildfire, or hurricane damage.

Sadly, cars are almost never covered by this insurance. In any case, to be 100% sure that you won’t have to cover the expenses from your own pocket, we recommend getting special coverage. Again, there’s no shortage of offers on the market. The logic here is simple: if you live in an area that floods all the time, opt for a respective insurance plan. Earthquakes, in turn, will be covered by a different plan.

The Garage Collapsed: Will You Be Compensated?

Let’s imagine a train hit your house and destroyed the garage. Homeowners insurance will pay to repair the garage and the entire house along with it. However, if your car was parked inside the garage or outside in the driveway and was damaged as well, the insurance will not cover it. Technically, a vehicle is an asset, a personal belonging, just like a motorcycle or a boat. Still, you’re going to have to pay for the repairs yourself.

In some rare cases, you might get financial support from the insurance company (especially if you own an all-terrain vehicle), but this isn’t common practice in the States. This is important: the garage will only be covered if it’s an integral part of your home. If it’s an adjacent building, you will have to purchase what’s called a “Coverage B” policy with homeowners insurance.

What About Another Car Crashing Into Your Vehicle?

If you’re the owner of a large SUV or truck and you always prefer to park it in the driveway, chances are, one of your neighbors will hit it. This happens quite often, especially early in the morning or during the night when people are late for work or a meeting. So, the big question is—will basic homeowners insurance cover the damages? The short answer is no, don’t expect the company to pay a single penny.

On the bright side, you can (and should) ask/force the neighbor (or, rather, their insurance provider) to cover the damages. That’s right: a company offering homeowners insurance is obligated to cover the damages to another person’s property, which, in this case, is your car. This will only happen if you prove that the car was, indeed, damaged by that person’s car. If they refuse to pay, your best option is to take the case to court.

Liability Coverage: How Far Does It Extend?

Alright, just sue your neighbor and wait for their insurance company to handle the situation. It usually doesn’t take long for them to access the damages. But wait—what if your car is totaled not because it was hit by another vehicle but crushed by a fallen tree? Or maybe your friends have a pet that caused extensive damage to the windows or the tires? Don’t worry: you won’t have to pay for any of that.

Again, it’s going to be the neighbor’s homeowners insurance (through the personal liability coverage policy) doing the “heavy lifting”. The same is true if you were the one ruining another person’s car while it was parked in the driveway, by the way. If that’s what happened, don’t hesitate to reach out to your insurance company and have them settle the matter.

a pile of discarded christmas trees
Image Credit: Cory Seamer, Shutterstock

Will the Driveway Be Covered?

What if the driveway was damaged along the way? Will it be covered by homeowners insurance or not? The first thing to remember is that these types of insurance don’t cover long-term, natural damages to the driveway. We’re talking about cracked concrete (from exposure to rain), faded/scratched paint, or slight “tilts” (when the soil underneath the concrete shifts a bit). Earthquake/flood damages won’t be covered, either.

And let’s not forget about landslides and mudslides. However, if the damage is accidental, like a tree falling onto the driveway, you can expect those expenses to be covered. Windstorms, tornadoes, and fires will, most likely, also be paid for by homeowners insurance. This is true for the vast majority of insurance companies (at least here in the US). They are willing to pay for immediate damages due to accidents and disasters, but not much else.

What’s the Best Insurance for Car Damage in the Driveway?

Hands down, if you’re looking to protect your vehicle from storms, floods, and clumsy drivers, go with auto insurance. Just like homeowners insurance, it comes in different shapes and sizes. Every single company has its policies and wins over potential clients with different treats. Local state laws might also affect the deal a bit, but the core terms and conditions are always the same.

The important thing here is to opt for comprehensive coverage. Without it, auto insurance might not provide full coverage for car damage in your driveway. It will cost extra, but in the long run, extended car insurance is the best way to protect your vehicle from outside threats.

car insurance on the phone
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Double Coverage With the Right Insurance

Let’s say you accidentally hit another car while backing out of the driveway. Comprehensive auto insurance will cover not only the damage done to your car but also to that other vehicle. To be more specific, you’ll need collision insurance to get compensation for repairing your own car. Next, liability insurance will pay to get the car that you hit back on its feet (or, rather, wheels).

Comprehensive insurance is a combination of both policies and more. It will repair or even replace your vehicle when it’s stolen, hit by another car, or damaged by a falling tree and other objects. Floods, fires, vandalism, riots, and animal damage will also be covered by the company.

house dividerConclusion

Did you wake up today to a damaged car in the driveway? Well, don’t expect standard homeowners insurance to cover that. No floods, earthquakes, or storms will be compensated. You will only get paid if it was another person’s car, tree, or pet damaging your vehicle. The good news is when the roles are reversed, and it’s actually you damaging someone else’s car, your homeowners insurance will cover the expenses.

Depending on the policy and the terms that you agreed on, the company will either pay the full amount or a part of it. Looking for a 360-degree kind of insurance? Then your best bet will be auto insurance with comprehensive coverage. Be careful, drive safely, and we’ll see you next time!

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Featured Image Credit: Zachary Keimig, Unsplash

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