If your garage has been damaged, and your car was inside and also damaged, the bad news are: your homeowners insurance will almost certainly not cover the cost of replacing the car. There aren’t many things completely set in stone when it comes to what it is insurance will or won’t cover, and a car may well be one of them. Since cars tend to have their own car insurance policies, home insurance has no reason to cover a car, and so it is treated as an entirely separate affair. Despite this, there is some nuance: assuming that the event that damages the car is covered, personal items inside of a car that have also been damaged might be subject to coverage, and there is also some leeway in regards to motor vehicles that travel at a slow speed, such as a mower or a tractor.
The Line Between Personal Property and Vehicle Is a Bit Blurry
While cars have their own insurance and will not be covered, a lot of insurances will make exceptions for vehicles used for maintaining your property, such as tractors or lawnmowers that must be ridden. The specifics can vary from policy to policy, but generally, if a vehicle is designed to travel less than 35mph, then your insurance might consider it personal property rather than a motor vehicle, and it will be afforded the same types of coverage as your personal property.
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Your Car May Not Be Covered, but the Space Around Your Car Can Be
Just because your car is out of the scope of your homeowners insurance doesn’t mean that the space your car is in, or even personal items inside of your car, are excluded. If whatever event damages your car also damages your garage, or perhaps a driveway, the fact your car was there doesn’t change the coverage of the garage or driveway. The only thing that influences whether or not the garage is covered is whether or not the damaging event is covered under your insurance. For instance, if a tree collapses into your garage, you can expect it to be covered, however, if the garage falls apart due to wear and tear, your insurance will likely not cover the cost of repairing or replacing the garage.
Your Insurance Will Only Cover Certain Kinds of Damage
Your insurance will evaluate damage in terms of the perils that cause them. A peril is any event that can cause damage, and your insurance maintains a list of perils that it will cover, as well as a list of perils that it won’t, respectively called “covered perils” and “uncovered perils.” With modern insurance policies, it is typical for all perils to be generically covered, except for a specified list of uncovered perils. While the specifics can vary wildly from policy to policy, there are some events that are generally uncovered by most policies. Widely uncovered perils include such ones as flooding, damage as a result of earthquakes, damage as a result of sinkholes, and damage associated with normal wear and tear.
Perils and Coverage Work the Similarly for Both Personal Property and Dwelling, Although Specifics Can Change Depending on Policy Types
There are two common insurance types that your insurance is likely to offer, known as HO-3 and HO-5 policies. Your HO-3 policy is the most standard policy, and one of its defining characteristics is that the coverage for personal property is different than the coverage for your dwelling. With an HO-3, your personal property will only have perils from a specific list covered, rather than being generically covered for all perils, unlike with your dwelling. The list can change on a per-policy basis, but generally, you can expect things like damage from fires, damage from crushing, or damage from vandalism to be covered. With an HO-5 policy, your personal property gets the same treatment coverage as your dwelling, with all perils being covered except for those on a named list.
Both policies will extend to personal property to your car, as long as the car is parked on your property or at your house. This means that if your garage burns down, and the interior of your car is also burned down, or if your items get damaged during a theft or vandalism of your car, then it will still be covered by your home insurance, even though the items were inside the car.
Also Read: Does Home Insurance Cover Detached Garages?