Backing into your -- or anyone's -- garage door is one of those embarrassing little accidents that you hope never happens to you. The truth is that it can, though. Everyone has moments when they’re in a hurry, or distracted, or just not as alert as they should be. Since statistics show that younger drivers are at a higher risk for accidents, it’s important to know how your insurance policy will cover you.
Whether or not the damage done to your garage door after accidentally hitting it is covered under your auto insurance's comprehensive coverage policy depends upon the company and their specific rules. In most cases though, you'll need to file the claim with your homeowners insurance instead.
Not in Your Garage
Generally, your auto policy protects only your car against loss, whether it’s a collision with another car, theft, or a tree falling on it. Your policy has a property damage section, but that’s normally liability coverage that only covers you if your car damages someone else’s property -- which would be the case if you hit someone else's garage door.
Damage to your own property is a common exclusion under the property damage section of most policies; you can’t file a claim against yourself. Comprehensive covers losses like glass breakage, falling objects, fire or vandalism -- but only the damage to your car, which wouldn't cover your garage door.
The Role of Auto Insurance
If you hit a garage door and your car was damaged, you could still file a claim with your car insurance for the cost of those repairs. Depending on how your insurer interprets the details of your claim -- and its own policy language -- the damage could be covered under either the comprehensive or collision sections of your policy. Most often, though, it’s covered under collision.
Covered By Other Coverage
A garage door is considered part of a house’s structure, so it’s usually covered under the homeowners insurance policy. The most common homeowner policies will cover everything except a specific list of named perils, such as war, water damage and nuclear hazards. Unless the insurance company finds that the damage was the result of negligence, it will usually cover the cost of repairs less any deductible. Whether the homeowners insurance comes into play depends on whose garage door you hit.
Whose Door Is It, Anyway?
If you live with your parents and backed into your own garage door, and the damage was more than the deductible, then your parents might choose to file a claim with their homeowners policy. If it's less than the deductible or just a little over, it's probably not worth risking a premium hike.
If the door was someone else’s, he’ll probably turn in a claim against your insurance, since filing a claim on his homeowners policy would risk hiking his own premiums. If that happens, your liability coverage will likely pay for the damage.
Christopher Williams has owned and operated his own small business since 2002, and has a wide range of professional experience in retail, sales and insurance industries. He's been writing professionally since 2004.