Car Insurance in a Home Fire

By: Angelo Ilumba May 20, 2014
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Recently, DMV.ORG’s home base of San Diego was hit by a number of devastating wildfires. These unfortunate events have left many wondering what happens when a fire threatens your home.

After you’ve made sure the important things are safe – your loved ones, pets, photos, and irreplaceable heirlooms – you’ll probably begin thinking about your financial situation.

Understanding how your insurance can help you when you’re facing the threat of a fire can reduce your stress and worry.

What Insurance Do I Use?

In the case of a fire, two insurance types typically come to mind:

  • Homeowner’s insurance.
  • Car insurance.

It can be confusing trying to determine what will get covered by which policy. It is fairly clear that damages to your home will be covered in your homeowner’s insurance. However, most homeowner’s insurance policies also cover other personal property in your home, so the question arises: Which policy covers my car if it is damaged in a fire while parked in my garage?

The general rule in the insurance world is that for larger and more valuable items that have specific types of insurance available to cover them (ex. boats, motorcycles, cars), those specific types of insurance will be the primary source of coverage if something goes wrong.

This means if your car is stuck in your garage during a fire and it gets damaged, your comprehensive car insurance coverage will pay (after you provide your deductible) to get it fixed. In the case that your car is totaled, this coverage will pay out the car’s current estimated cash value.

What Is Comprehensive Coverage?

Comprehensive coverage helps pay for damages to your vehicle from events that are not accident-related.

Not only will comprehensive help cover damages from a fire, it can also cover your car in cases of:

  • Severe weather.
  • Theft.
  • Vandalism.
  • Falling objects.

Having comprehensive car insurance can be very valuable. If you do not already have the coverage, you might consider purchasing it.

You should understand, though, that if your car is very old and the value has depreciated quite a bit, it may not be worth it to buy comprehensive coverage. You could end up spending more than you’d gain in the event you incur damages.

What if I Don’t Have Comprehensive Coverage?

Since comprehensive car insurance coverage is optional, you might not have this coverage. In this case you may ask: Does my homeowner’s policy cover my car?

This question is a bit tricky, as no two insurance policies are exactly the same. Some homeowner’s insurance companies will offer coverage to your car if it is damaged or stolen while parked in your garage, but some policies might have strict provisions against covering your car at all.

It is very important to study your your car insurance policy and your homeowner’s policy to understand just what each type of insurance covers.

Staying Safe

While your insurance and how it covers you can be a great concern during fire season, keep in mind that there are issues that top the list of importance.

Your safety is the number one priority.

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