Even the best drivers can make mistakes that result in property damage. This is one of the reasons why every state requires motorists to carry at least a minimum level of car insurance. However, auto insurance may not cover everything car-related. If you drive into a garage door, coverage for the damage could fall under either auto or homeowners insurance.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Whether you need to make a claim with your homeowners insurance or your auto insurance depends on how your garage door got damaged.
Homeowners insurance protects your home from major damage and provides liability coverage for any damage or injuries that a family member or pet causes to others. A homeowners policy has a deductible that you pay before the insurance picks up expenses, and a claim on the policy could cause an increase in premiums.
If you rent your home, renters insurance can protect your possessions within the home, but it does not cover damage to the structure. However, your auto insurance may cover the damage to your car. If your garage door was damaged through no fault of your own, the owner of your property should take care of paying for the damage and getting it fixed. If someone else damaged the garage door, it would need to be filed under that person's auto coverage.
Your auto insurance policy includes several aspects of protection. The liability portion of your policy covers you against damage or injuries that you cause in an accident, while the collision and comprehension portions of your policy cover repairing or replacing your own car. Some states have no-fault laws under which your insurance covers your damages regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
Damage to Your Garage Door
If you or a family member run into your garage door with your car and you own your home, the liability portion of your car insurance will not provide coverage, because liability coverage does not protect you against your own actions. Instead, you make a claim on your homeowners policy to cover the damages to the home. If you have comprehensive coverage, it's designed to pay for the damage to your car, not objects you hit with it.
Damage to Someone Else's Garage Door
If you rent your home and run into the garage door of your rental home, then you have damaged the property of your landlord, so he would file a claim against your auto insurance liability policy. This is no different from driving into any other home's garage door. You would be liable, and your auto insurance liability coverage would pay for the damages after you meet your deductible.
- Insurance Information Institute: What is Homeowners Insurance?
- Allstate: What is Renters Insurance?
- Insurance Information Institute: What is Auto Insurance?
- Allstate: What Is No-Fault Insurance (Aka Personal Injury Protection Or PIP Insurance)?
- Insure.com: Home Insurance Basics
- Insure.com: Ultimate Guide to Insurance for Hitting Stuff in the Road
- US Insurance Agents: Will a Renters Insurance Policy Protect Against Damage to Garage Doors?
Chris Baylor has been writing about various topics, focusing primarily on woodworking, since 2006. You can see his work in publications such as "Consumer's Digest," where he wrote the 2009 Best Buys for Power Tools and the 2013 Best Buys for Pressure Washers.