Garage Door Damage: Can You Claim On Your Insurance?

It's easy to damage your garage doors with your car, especially if you're in a hurry. According to the scale of the impact, research suggests that you could face a bill anywhere between $75 and $538, so if the bill ends up at the higher end of the scale, you may start to think about claiming on your insurance. If you've just damaged your garage door, learn more about the coverage offered by different types of insurance, and find out if it's worth filing a claim.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance protects you when you cause an accident that results in an injury or damage to somebody's property. Even a relatively minor collision can lead to a significant repair bill, so many states insist that drivers have liability insurance with minimum coverage limits. For example, liability insurance in Texas must offer coverage worth at least $25,000

Crucially, liability insurance can't help you when you collide with your own garage door because the coverage only applies when you damage somebody else's property. Of course, if you hit a friend or family member's garage door, you could then consider a claim on your liability insurance.

Collision Insurance

Most states don't insist that you have collision insurance, but it's a good idea to buy this coverage because it can pay for the cost of damage to your own property.

Nonetheless, collision insurance only covers the cost of damage to your car. This coverage won't pay for repairs to a damaged garage door, even though the cost is often lower than the bill for repairs to your car. With this insurance, it doesn't matter whose garage door you hit - the policy only covers your car.

Homeowners' Insurance

Normally, the only coverage that may cover the cost of garage door repairs is your homeowners' insurance, but the insurer will only cover the damage in certain circumstances.

The insurer will only pay if you or somebody who lives with you damages the door. If a friend or neighbor collides with the door, your homeowners' insurance won't pay out. Instead, you'll need to claim on the other person's auto insurance.

Your insurance may only cover damage to certain types of garage doors. For example, your insurer may not automatically cover a detached garage under your normal homeowners' policy. Obviously, the insurance company will also deny claims if they believe you caused the damage intentionally, and in some cases, the insurer will send out a loss adjuster to investigate the damage. According to his or her findings, the insurer may deny your claim.

Deciding whether to claim

A claim on your homeowners' insurance is not always a good idea.

First, the size of the repair bill will often dictate when a claim is worthwhile. Many homeowners' policies include a deductible (or excess), which is the amount you must pay before the insurance company settles the bill. As such, if you have a $1,000 deductible and the repair bill is $200, there's little point filing a claim. Deductibles help insurers keep the cost of premiums down by discouraging smaller claims, so you need to think carefully before you act.

Secondly, insurance companies consider your claiming history when calculating your renewal premium each year. If you haven't claimed, your insurance probably won't increase by more than a small percentage, but even a small claim can push the cost of your premium up. As such, you may not actually save any money over the long-term if you decide to claim.

If you file a claim with your insurer, you'll also lose a certain amount of control over the repair. The insurance company may insist that you use a certain supplier, and you may have to wait some time before the company completes the work. If you want the peace of mind of a quick repair, an insurance claim probably isn't the right way to go.

Collision damage to a garage door can lead to a hefty repair bill, so it's unsurprising that many people consider an insurance claim. Nonetheless, you should carefully consider your options before you file a claim, or you could lose more money than you save. For more information about the cost of repairs for garage doors, contact a local garage installation or repair company.