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

Q:

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

A:

This is a great question, and it's one I get a lot in my day job as an insurance broker. The question is logical: if my homeowners insurance covers my personal property while it is on my premises, should that coverage not also naturally extend to the car in my garage? It is technically personal property, right?

Unfortunately, the answer is a counter-intuitive one. No, your car is not covered under your homeowners insurance if the garage burns down with your car inside it. The reason is that automobiles (and other vehicles that require licensing and are meant to be used on public roads) are excluded under your homeowners policy.

As a general insurance industry rule, objects that have their own specialized policy forms are excluded from other more general policy forms to avoid overlap. That specialized policy form (your automobile insurance in this case) would have to respond as the primary policy in the event of a loss, even when the it's parked in your garage.

The follow-up question that most people ask from here is: but what if I'm not driving it and it's in storage? Well, in that case, you may want to look at purchasing a vehicle storage policy. This gives you third party liability protection, as well as collision and comprehensive coverage, to use when it is damaged in a fire loss.

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Written by Jacques Wong
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Jacques grew up around the insurance industry and began actively participating in 2013. Since then, he has gotten a Level 2 license, won an Insurance Council of BC award in 2015 for academic excellence in the insurance licensing courses and educates insurance professionals through PNC Learning.   Full Bio