What happens if my garage burns down with my car in it?

When a fire breaks out, it’s not exactly going to ask where it should go or what it should and should not eat. But what if your car is in your garage when the fire starts and it consumes your beloved, four-wheeled friend? How does that work? Would your home insurance cover it? We’ll explain what coverage you need to make sure that your car is covered in the event that a house fire destroys it.

Will home insurance cover my car if my garage burns down?

Okay, so first things first: home insurance covers the damage to your home and to the garage itself. However, home insurance will generally not cover your car – home insurance policies usually exclude motorized vehicles. Even though the fire broke out at your house and your car was also at your house at the time that it was unfortunately singed, you might be barking up the wrong tree if you tried to get home insurance to cover it. However, make sure you read through your policy very carefully to see what you can find out.

So if home insurance might be the wrong tree, what’s the right tree?

Car insurance.

Will car insurance cover my vehicle if my garage burns down?

Well, here’s the thing.

You have to have the right coverage in order for a fiery loss to be covered by car insurance. If you only have liability insurance, you would not be covered for fire. That’s because liability insurance is intended to protect other drivers on the road when you’re driving.

The bodily injury liability portion of your liability insurance will cover the other driver’s medical expenses if you’re at-fault in an accident. The property damage liability part will cover the repairs or replacement of the other driver’s car (or cover damage to other property you crash into.) Your liability insurance will basically help you cover your legal obligation to the other driver, and it will also help you cover legal expenses if they choose to sue.

But notice that we didn’t say anything about covering your car. That’s because liability doesn’t protect your car if it’s damaged, and it won’t pay to help you repair or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged in an accident or by another loss.

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You would have to have comprehensive coverage for your car to be covered in the event of a house fire that gets out of control. Comprehensive coverage will help you repair or replace your car if it’s damaged or destroyed by a loss other than an accident or collision. For example, it covers losses like:

  • Animal strikes (like if you hit a deer)
  • Vandalism
  • Falling objects (like a tree that squashes your car)
  • Theft
  • And fire.

It’s important to consider comprehensive coverage when you’re getting car insurance because it will help you protect your investment in your car. In fact, you might have to get comprehensive coverage if you have a loan on your car because your lienholder might require it. They want to protect their investment in the vehicle, too, after all.

Of course, you want to believe that your garage is a safe place to store your car to protect it. But fires happen and trees fall. Without the proper coverage for your vehicle, you’d be left on your own to swallow the cost of getting a new vehicle following the fire. Even though comprehensive coverage might not be required by your state like liability insurance is, it’s definitely worth considering. And remember – if you’ve only purchased bare-bones, state-minimum car insurance, it most likely does not include comprehensive coverage or its BFF, collision insurance.

Collision coverage goes hand in hand with comprehensive coverage.

Now, another coverage you can get for your car is collision coverage. This will help you repair or replace your car if you’re involved in an accident or if you otherwise collide with something. Basically, it works together with your comprehensive coverage to make sure that anything that could befall your car is covered. (We apologize for the tangent from our house fire and car scenario, but it seemed worth mentioning.)

Bottom line.

Okay, here’s the nutshell version:

Home insurance can cover the fire damage to your house and your garage. However, it will probably not do anything to help you replace your car if it’s also destroyed in the fire. If you have comprehensive car insurance you’re covered for this kind of loss.

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