If your garage door gets damaged, it seems logical that your homeowner insurance should cover the costs of replacement. Sometimes, that's even how it goes. However, you may have to jump through a series of hoops between experiencing the damage and getting that insurance check. Knowing the answers to the most common questions can speed up the process and make sure you get the payment you're owed.
Who broke your garage door will determine who's responsible for the cost of fixing it. If you or your family broke it, that's typically covered by homeowner insurance. If somebody else broke it, the cost will come out of their liability or auto insurance. If the garage door was destroyed by a disaster, such as a fire, or by anonymous vandalism, it's covered by your homeowner policy.
Is It Covered?
Not all damage to a garage door is covered by all homeowner insurance agreements. Damage from certain natural disasters are often specifically excluded from coverage, as is any intentional damage you do yourself. A detached garage might not be covered under the same policy that protects your main home, and if you ran into the door with your car it might all fall under your auto policy instead.
A deductible is an amount of money you're expected to pay out of pocket before the insurance company starts to pay out. If you have a $1,000 deductible and $1,200 worth of damage to your door, you'll receive $200 from your insurance company. If the damage was $1,000 or less, you'll get nothing. Replacing a garage door can be expensive, but if it costs less than the deductible on your policy there's no point in filing a claim.
You will have to submit some kind of proof of your loss before an insurance company will issue a payment. Exactly what kind of proof will depend on the nature of the damage. If the door was destroyed by a crime, such as vandalism or arson, you will need to submit a copy of the police report. For simple damage, your insurance company may ask for receipts or may send out an adjuster to estimate how much the repair will cost. If you receive an estimate, you'll typically only have to provide documentation if the repairs cost more than the estimate.
Length of Wait
If you spring for repairs immediately but have to wait several weeks for the insurance check, it can put you in some dire financial straits during the delay. Find out how long you'll typically need to wait for the money so you can avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Insurance agencies raise the cost of your insurance if you file too many claims. For a garage door replacement that costs only a few hundred dollars more than the deductible, it's worth finding out how much the claim will increase your rates. In some cases, you'll spend less just paying out of pocket than you would on higher premiums over the next few years.
- Erie Insurance: Homeowners Insurance Claims Frequently Asked Questions
- "Property and Casualty Insurance License Exam Cram"; Bisys Educational Services
Jake Wayne has written professionally for more than 12 years, including assignments in business writing, national magazines and book-length projects. He has a psychology degree from the University of Oregon and black belts in three martial arts.