Does homeowners insurance cover vehicles in the driveway?

12 minute read Published on Dec 24, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

A beautiful home and yard with a garden full of perennials and annuals with a car parked in a driveway

Many people wonder who to call after something happens to the car in their driveway. For example, since the incident happened on their property, they might think that a home insurance claim needs to be filed. However, since the incident involved their car, perhaps it’s their Toronto car insurance company that needs to be called.

Needless to say, insurance is complex, which is why we are discussing the topic of whether your car insurance or your home insurance covers you for vehicle damage in a driveway.

Vehicle damage on your property

There are many types of vehicle damage that may occur on someone’s property. For example, a car could crash into your home, damaging both, a car could roll in the driveway, or a hailstorm could damage a car that is parked in your driveway overnight. The type of damage that occurs impacts whether your claim is filed with your car insurance company, your Toronto home insurance company, or both. We run through a few possible scenarios, as well as which policy to file a claim under, below:

A vehicle crashed into my house

If a car crashes into your home and damages it, your homeowners insurance policy should help cover the cost of repairing the home. That said, it depends on what perils are listed in your policy, as well as whether the damage was caused to your home or another structure on the property. Many policies list damage from a car as a covered peril, so if this is the case, then you can file a claim with your home insurance provider and they will issue you a payout to help cover the cost of repairing the damage.

If the car crashed into a detached structure on your property, like a garage or fence, then your home insurance policy would likely only cover you if your policy features other structures coverage or there was coverage extended to that particular structure. You can ask a broker for home insurance at BrokerLink to review your policy and confirm its terms and conditions.

Please note that in addition to any payout issued by your home insurance provider in these circumstances, the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy should cover some of the cost of repairs. Third party liability car insurance is mandatory in Canada, and comes into play when a driver causes an accident. If they crashed into a grounded object or structure, such as your house, then the odds are high that they are responsible for the accident, and therefore, their third party liability insurance would help cover the cost of your home repairs.

If the driver is uninsured, you may have to rely solely on the payout from your home insurance provider, unless you have uninsured automobile coverage as part of your car insurance plan.

If, however, you were the driver who accidentally crashed a car into your house, you will need to file a claim with both your auto insurance provider and your home insurance provider. In this instance, since it was the policyholder who was responsible for the damage, home insurance may not cover you. The same goes for other damage, including theft, that is perpetrated by a member of the household.

My car was stolen while parked in the driveway

If your car is stolen while parked in your driveway or even in your garage, it is car insurance that would apply, not home insurance. Specifically, it is a type of car insurance known as comprehensive car coverage that would help pay for the cost of damages in the event of your car being stolen from your driveway.

Comprehensive coverage is the only car insurance coverage that protects vehicles from theft. With this type of coverage, your auto insurer can issue a payout to cover the cost of replacing the stolen vehicle.

Please note that although insurance is mandatory in Ontario, comprehensive car insurance is not one of the mandatory coverage types.

Thus, you will need to add this type of insurance to your policy if you want to be covered for losses or damages suffered while parked, whether they occur while your car is parked in the driveway of your home or at your office building.

My car was damaged in a storm while parked in the driveway

If your car is damaged in a storm, whether it be a rainstorm, thunderstorm, hailstorm, windstorm, or snowstorm, while parked in your driveway, home insurance would not apply. Instead, you would need to call your car insurance provider. Similar to the theft incident above, the storm damage would only be covered by your insurance provider if your policy features comprehensive coverage.

Assuming your policy has comprehensive coverage, you can be reimbursed for a wide range of repairs relating to storm damage. For instance, if a tree branch fell on your car or flooding caused water damage to your car over the course of the storm, comprehensive auto insurance can help cover the cost of repairs.

That said, it’s worth noting that although many natural disasters and weather-related incidents are covered by comprehensive car insurance, not all are. For instance, tornadoes, tsunamis, and earthquakes are typically not insured perils in car insurance policies in Canada.

My car was damaged while parked in the garage

Another scenario involving vehicle damage in your home is if your car was damaged while parked in the garage. The circumstances surrounding the incident would ultimately determine whether an auto insurance claim or a home insurance claim is filed. If your car were stolen from your garage, you would file an auto insurance claim.

Generally, home insurance policies do not cover the theft of vehicles unless you purchase high-value home insurance or a specific rider that protects certain valuable items, like cars.

If a fire broke out in your home and made its way into the garage, and that’s how your vehicle was damaged, you may be able to file claims with both your home insurance provider and your auto insurance provider. However, these terms may vary based on each insurance company.

Meanwhile, if a tree fell onto the roof of your garage but missed your car, it could still result in a claim. For example, during the time that your car is stuck in the garage due to the fallen tree, water might start to leak in through the hole in the garage roof, which could eventually cause damage to your car, such as rust.

In this scenario, you would likely be entitled to file an insurance claim for the cost of the damage. In this case, you could also likely file a claim with both your home and auto insurance providers.

Why it may be worth filing home and auto insurance claims after vehicle damage on your property

There are certain situations, such as when a vehicle is damaged on your property, where it might be worth filing claims with both your home insurance provider and your auto insurance provider. The reality is that if your home insurance features dwelling coverage and other structures coverage, then the damage that occurs on your property might be covered, even if that damage involves your car.

For instance, if your car was parked in the driveway of your home when a tree branch fell on it, your home insurance company may approve the claim since, after all, the damage did occur on your property. That said, the payout issued may be minimal and will never exceed the coverage limit. Meanwhile, since the damage was caused by a falling tree branch, and falling or flying objects is an insured peril in most comprehensive car insurance policies, your auto insurance company is also likely to approve your claim.

However, your insurance company might have restrictions on whether you can file claims with both for the same incident, so be sure to ask in advance. Otherwise, you may have to choose between filing a claim with your home insurance company and filing a claim with your auto insurance company.

What home insurance covers

To help you better understand how home insurance works, when this type of coverage applies to various situations, and the importance of home insurance purchasing a policy is one of our top home protection tips, the BrokerLink team has outlined the three main types of home insurance coverage below.

Keep in mind that home insurance policies vary throughout Canada. However, most will include the following coverages:

Dwelling coverage

Dwelling coverage is an integral part of any homeowner’s insurance policy. It is one of the most basic forms of home insurance and is designed to protect your physical property from all kinds of damage. With dwelling coverage, you will be protected from damage caused by specific perils. These perils usually include:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Smoke
  • Theft
  • Wind
  • Car / aircraft impact
  • Explosion
  • Falling objects

Content(s) coverage

Contents coverage is another key component of home insurance. It protects the belongings inside your home from damage. So where dwelling coverage protects the structure of your home, contents coverage protects the items inside of it.

These items include typical household belongings, such as furniture, electronics, clothing, sports equipment, and more. Depending on your coverage limits, it might also protect high-value items like fine jewellery, original artwork, vintage wine, or musical instruments, though it’s often recommended that you purchase a separate rider for items of high value.

Similar to dwelling coverage, the belongings in your home are covered so long as they are damaged or lost due to an insured peril.

Insured perils for contents coverage range from theft and fire to smoke, falling objects, lightning, wind, etc.

When adding content coverage to your policy, it’s important to make sure that your coverage limits reflect the value of the items inside your home. Otherwise, you may have to pay to replace many items in your home without help from your insurer.

Personal liability coverage

Personal liability coverage is one last type of insurance that is commonplace in homeowner’s policies in Canada. This type of coverage protects homeowners against third party claims, such as bodily injury claims or property damage claims.

A common example of a personal liability claim for home insurance is if a guest visits your home and accidentally slips and falls on your icy front porch. If they were injured, they could file a claim against you.

Without home insurance, you would have to pay for the cost of defending yourself in the lawsuit, as well as any possible settlement fees, medical fees, and more. But with personal liability home insurance, your insurer will help cover these costs.

What car insurance covers

Now that you know a little bit more about home insurance coverage in Canada, let’s dive into car insurance coverage.

The following is a list of some of the most common types of car insurance coverage in Canada, many of which are mandatory, and how they protect you from the risks of the road:

Third party liability coverage

Liability car insurance offers financial security to drivers who cause car accidents. If you are found to be at fault for a collision, it is the liability portion of your policy that will pay for the costs of the accident, ranging from medical bills and vehicle repair bills to legal fees, such as settlement and defence fees. Ask an insurance broker or research local laws in your province to ensure you comply with the minimum coverage requirements. For instance, drivers in Ontario and Alberta are required to have at least $200,000 in third party liability coverage at all times.

Accident benefits coverage

Accident benefits coverage is another type of mandatory car insurance coverage in Canada. It is specifically designed to reimburse policyholders for the cost of medical attention if someone is injured in a car accident.

No matter what type of injury was suffered or who in the collision suffered the injury, accident benefits can help cover medical bills and other related costs. Examples of what accident benefits may cover include funeral fees, lost income, prescription medication, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.

Direct compensation - property damage coverage

Direct compensation - property damage coverage can help cover the cost of repairing your vehicle if it is damaged in a car accident. However, this type of coverage only applies if you are not liable for the accident.

Uninsured automobile coverage

Uninsured automobile coverage is only mandatory in certain provinces, such as Ontario. However, it can be extremely useful as it helps cover a variety of costs if you get into an accident with an uninsured, underinsured, or anonymous driver.

For instance, if you are the victim of a hit and run, uninsured automobile coverage can reimburse you for the cost of any necessary repairs, medical expenses, and more.

Collision coverage

Collision car coverage is a type of optional coverage that can pay to repair or replace your car if it is totalled or suffers severe damage in a major accident.

With collision car insurance, it doesn't matter which driver is liable for the accident or whether the accident was with another car, animal, or object on the road.

Accident forgiveness coverage

Another type of optional car insurance coverage popular among drivers in Canada is accident forgiveness. Accident forgiveness is additional coverage that can be added to your car insurance policy as an endorsement, to protect your driving record and to help prevent your insurance premium from increasing if you have an at-fault accident claim.

Note: coverage and eligibility varies by province.

Loss of use coverage

Loss of use coverage is also optional and it covers the transportation costs incurred while your car is in the auto body shop. Specifically, if your car is in the shop for repairs after being damaged in a collision, loss of use coverage can reimburse you for the cost of taking alternate modes of transport, e.g. the cost of taking public transit, renting a car, or hiring taxis or ride shares.

Comprehensive car insurance protects cars parked in driveways

One final type of car insurance coverage that must be discussed is comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage is optional. However, it is extremely valuable, which is why so many drivers choose to purchase it even though they are not required to.

Comprehensive car insurance is the only type of coverage that will protect your vehicle from losses or damage while parked. That is why, if your car is damaged while in the driveway and you need to file a car insurance claim, the type of claim you would be filing is a comprehensive coverage claim.

Also known as parked car insurance, comprehensive coverage is designed to offer protection against non-collision incidents. For instance, if a tree branch falls on your car, a flood damages your car, a fire breaks out in your home and damages your car, or a thief steals your car, comprehensive coverage can be claimed.

Although the coverage offered by insurance companies in Canada varies, comprehensive coverage generally includes protection against the following insured perils: fire, theft, vandalism, falling or flying objects, riots and civil disturbances, explosions, and natural disasters and weather.

In essence, if your car suffers a loss while parked, whether it is parked in your driveway, on the road, or somewhere else, it is comprehensive coverage that would apply.

Please note that comprehensive coverage is not government-mandated anywhere in Canada. That said, you might be required to purchase it if you lease or finance your vehicle.

Many leasing and financing companies require borrowers to purchase additional car insurance coverage in the form of collision and comprehensive coverage and to maintain it for the duration of the contract. Thus, some drivers might be contractually obligated to purchase comprehensive car coverage.

Contact BrokerLink to learn more about vehicle damage on your property

If you are still confused about who to call after a car is damaged in your driveway, fear not! BrokerLink is here. Feel free to give us a call, visit us in person, or send us an email to speak directly with a licensed insurance broker. Since we are a full-service insurance brokerage, our brokers have both auto and home insurance expertise, which means we can answer all of your questions, including: does homeowner’s insurance cover vehicles in the driveway?

Plus, we can give you tips on how to save money on both your auto and home insurance plans, such as by bundling home and auto policies. We can also give you a free home insurance quote or a free car insurance quote, which will help you answer the question: How much is car insurance per month in Ontario? Use the free quote tool on our website to request your free quote today.

Finally, the BrokerLink team specializes in matching our customers with quality insurance solutions. Whether you are looking for a first-time car insurance policy, a tenant and renter's insurance policy, or a basic car or home insurance policy, we can help. Reach out to us today to begin your insurance journey!

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