UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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If your garage burns down, then any vehicles inside that garage may be damaged or destroyed. What happens if you have car insurance? Will car insurance pay for a new car? Should you make a destroyed garage claim through your home insurance? Or are you forced to pay out of pocket? Today, we’re answering all your questions about what happens – and who pays – when your garage burns down.
Your Homeowners Insurance Will Not Cover Damage to your Vehicle
If your garage – or any other part of your home – burns down and damages your vehicle, then your homeowner’s insurance will not likely cover the loss. Most home insurance policies explicitly state that car damage is not covered by your policy.
You will be able to claim other damage under your home insurance policy. You can claim damages to your garage and other parts of your home under your home insurance policy, for example. However, it’s unlikely that you will be able to claim any car damage or losses under an ordinary home insurance policy.
Fortunately, most comprehensive coverage car insurance policies do cover vehicle damage if your garage burns down.
Comprehensive Coverage Auto Insurance Policies Will Cover your Car If Your Garage Burns Down
If your garage burns down and your car is damaged or destroyed, then you should be able to make a claim under your ordinary car insurance policy – assuming you have comprehensive coverage.
Comprehensive coverage is an optional type of car insurance policy that covers events outside of accidents. If your car is damaged by a fallen branch, a windstorm, a flood, or a similar incident, for example, then you can make a claim under comprehensive coverage to have the incident covered. You pay a small deductible, and your insurance company pays the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle.
Not all car insurance policies have comprehensive coverage. If your car only has liability coverage or collision coverage, for example, then you will not be able to file a claim under your car insurance policy after your garage burns down and damages your vehicle. Liability coverage only covers damage to other people and property during an accident, while collision coverage covers damage to your own vehicle during an accident. To protect your car against all unexpected circumstances and disasters – including house fires – you need comprehensive coverage.
How Do Garage Fires Start? Which Types of Garage Fires Are Covered?
Garage fires can occur for many different reasons. Some garage fires occur due to an engine fire in your vehicle, for example, while other garage fires are deliberate criminal acts of arson. Some garages are attached to a home, and the garage may burn down during an ordinary house fire. Other garages are detached from the home.
Typically, the type of garage fire does not impact the way you deal with your insurance claim. In most garage fire situations where your car is damaged, you will still be filing a claim through your car insurance – not your home insurance. However, depending on the type of fire, you may be filing a claim under your comprehensive coverage, your collision coverage, or some other type of coverage.
Some garage fires occur due to arson. Your car or your garage may be intentionally set on fire. Some people commit arson on their own property or vehicle in an act of insurance fraud. Other arson is considered a criminal act in which case a third party can be charged. If your car or garage were damaged during a fire caused by arson, then you must file a police report. However, your vehicle claim should still be processed through your comprehensive coverage.
A garage fire can damage or destroy a vehicle. It can also damage or destroy the contents of your garage. Your car insurance policy will cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle (assuming you have comprehensive coverage). However, all other losses will need to be filed through your home insurance policy. The cost of repairing or replacing your garage and your possessions, for example, will be covered by your home insurance policy.
A mechanical breakdown or similar issue could lead to an engine fire. Typically, car insurance policies do not cover mechanical breakdowns (unless you have mechanical breakdown insurance). However, the company will make an exception for mechanical breakdowns that cause fires. Your comprehensive coverage policy will cover the cost of repairing your vehicle if your engine becomes engulfed in flames while driving down the highway, for example.
Sometimes, a car accident can cause a fire. A collision can cause a vehicle to become engulfed in flames, for example. In this situation, the incident could fall under collision or comprehensive coverage. Your claims adjuster will review the case to determine if the incident is covered.
Ultimately, homeowner’s insurance policies will never cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. If your car is damaged when your garage burns down, for example, then you need to file this claim through your car insurance policy – not your homeowner’s insurance policy. Your car insurance policy will send you a check for the cost of repairs or a replacement, minus your deductible.
Your car insurance policy will only cover this incident if you have comprehensive coverage. If you do not have comprehensive coverage, then you will not be able to file a claim to cover your vehicle. Instead, you may need to pay out of pocket to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle after your garage burns down.