I accidentally backed into my garage with my car, is the damage covered by my auto insurance or homeowners insurance?

Apr 20, 2021 | Personal Insurance

Accidentally hitting your garage or house while backing up your car really happens. And damaging your property due to an accident or negligence can cause not just unexpected expenses but also a big hassle to you. Now, you will have to file a claim to fix it.

The first thing you need to do is decide whether you file it under your homeowner’s insurance or your car insurance? This situation is quite tricky but the good part is, if you are properly insured, you can be at ease that you will be covered.

What you should know

Your auto insurance’s Liability coverage will only cover when you hit other people’s property, but not your own. That being said, your auto insurance will not cover the damage to your house or garage.

However, it can cover the damage you made to your car due to the accident. And regarding your damaged house, don’t worry because your home insurance will pay for that if proven that the damage is not intentional.

What to do after the accident

Now that you already know who covers what. The next thing you need to do is to decide whether you really need to file a claim or not. Why? Well here’s the thing, accidents can cause mild to severe damage to your home and car.

Let’s say your house’s wall broke down, then that’s really something that you need to file for. The cost of the damage is too much for you to pay. But, if the result of the accident is just minor and can be repaired easily, consider fixing it yourself. For example, a dent in your garage’s sliding door. That one can be fixed and the repair won’t cost you much.

Here’s why you should consider it. Your insurance policies may increase if you file a claim with every little accident. Insurance companies keep records of the people who file claims often. So if you are the type who wants to file a claim on every small issue, then there’s a big chance that your insurance policy rates will go up.

Filing a claim to your Homeowners Insurance

This is the time when you realize that having insurance that can back you up, especially during this unfortunate event is very important. Now, let’s say you already decided to file a claim. You need to know first what to do. How are you going to explain what happened?  Do you need to clean up the mess and the damage that was made or just leave it like that? Should I Get An Estimate For Damage To My Home Before Filing a Claim?

Also, regarding your auto insurance, you must determine as well what step to make. Like What Questions Should I Ask Before Filing an Auto Insurance Claim? Surely there are lots of things that you want to know first. So here are some of the important factors that you need to know:

  • If any belongings in your property were damaged, your possessions insurance coverage will pay for that. Although some policies may only pay it based on cash value. Therefore, you better ask your insurance agent about this to make sure.
  • Other home insurance policies reimburse the Actual Cash Value under the Other Structure Coverage. While some will just pay you for the replacement cost.
  • Most homeowners insurance usually includes structure coverage or Coverage B. Generally, standard home insurance covers everything from your house, detached garage, and protective fence. So in case of a claim regarding damaged property, this policy will save you from the costs of repairs.

What are other structures?

Other structures coverage is the policy on your home insurance that covers the things that are your property but are not attached to your main house. If ever these detached parts of your property are damaged due to a qualified cause, the other structure coverage of your policy will cover them. Here are the usually covered structures:

  • Gazebos
  • Fences
  • Sheds
  • Garages
  • Mailbox
  • Walkways
  • Storage house

Filing a claim to your Auto Insurance

Filling a claim request to your auto insurance is needed if your car crashed pretty badly. However, minor scratches can be fixed easily and you may consider not filing a claim at all. Having a clean record of claims is more important than fixing a small scratch by yourself. But if the damage is severe, repairs for cars can be very expensive. Hence, you have no other option but to file a claim. And worst, since it is your fault, this can be a bad record for you.

Contacting the police and filing an accident report

Although these are the standard procedures when caught in an accident. Since smashing your property using your car is your fault and no other party is involved. You can skip this process if the accident is just minor.

However, if the accident is too much for you to handle, you can call the police to have proper documentation of what happened. Having a police report that is detailed and accurate can also make your claims clearer.

Moreover, if you are hurt or injured, police officers can easily call for an ambulance or emergency services. Professional help can also handle any fuel or oil leaks if the impact is really severe.

While some states have laws when it comes to filing an accident report. When you experience one, make sure to file it to the Department of Motor vehicles or DMV. Understanding your legal responsibilities is a must. But if you are not sure what step you should do first, you can always contact your insurance agent to guide you.

Call your insurance company ASAP

Again this both applies to your home and auto insurance. Many insurers have rules that if you have an accident you must call them as soon as you’re safe. They will guide you on what to do next and will give you clear instructions.

Once you report your claim, your insurance company sends a claims professional or an adjuster to check the situation and assist you. The adjuster will be the one to help you with your claims. The role of the juster is to educate you about the process including answering your questions, letting you know what to expect, and how the payment will be made.

Also, to assist you with the repairs of your house or car. Here is where all the documentation that you did is needed. Make sure to provide all the information they require for the fast processing of your claim. The more detailed information you can give about the accident, the easier for the adjuster to help you with the process.

Once the adjuster already concluded all the information you presented, the estimated costs of the damage will be given to you. The estimate usually includes the information on how the work will be done and what materials they are planning to use for the repairs. If you already reached an agreement then that’s when the work will start.

Moreover, you will be notified if there are any deductibles that you will need to pay, and explains to you what is the next step you need to make.

However, there is a chance that you will not get paid. If the company doesn’t approve the assessment, the repairs can’t be done.

Hence, you should always read your contract, because it is in your insurance contract that you are allowing your insurance to assess the damage and you should work with them on agreed settlements.

In a nutshell, accidents like backing up on your house with your own car will make you deal with two claims. And having enough coverage for your homeowners and auto insurance is your best defense against these unforeseen times. And since this accident can happen anytime you should always make sure to read your insurance contract. Take time to know your coverages, and talk to your trusted insurance agent about it.

*Please be informed that the estimated prices in this article are based on the general rates. Meaning the amount of your insurance will still vary in your state and also on your policy.

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