Q: I can't believe it, but my neighbor drove his car through my back fence and into my swimming pool. He's a nice guy and I know it was an accident, but it was most certainly his fault. Does his auto insurance provide coverage for the damage?
We posed this question to Christian Slayton, a Farmers Insurance® agent based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here's what she had to say about insurance coverage if your property is damaged by a driver.
A: Wow, what a way to put a damper on your weekend fun. The good news is, if the driver is at fault, the damages would likely be covered under the driver’s auto insurance, subject to policy terms and up to their policy limits. This includes damage to your property, costs to repair your pool and all damages to his car, which would likely be a total loss, if submerged in water.
Also, you didn’t say if anyone was injured by the car at the time of the accident, the injuries would also be covered under your neighbor’s automobile insurance policy, provided his liability limits are high enough to cover the damages.
"What are the limits of liability?"
Basically, auto insurance typically covers injuries and property damages up to a certain dollar amount. That amount is the limit of liability. This is where it can get tricky. Depending on the limits of the driver’s policy, the insurance might not be enough to cover the damage.
Some drivers may want only enough coverage to meet the minimum required limits in their state, as cheaply as possible. I’ve heard people say, “I just want to get the insurance I’m legally required to have. Give me the cheapest policy and I’ll be on my way.” But when you consider what the insurance is in place to do, it may not be the insurance you want and may not be the best plan in the event of an accident.
"So if my neighbor doesn't have enough insurance, could my home or auto insurance policy coverage to help pay for damages to my property?"
Your own homeowners policy may cover the damages to your property subject to policy terms and limits. Homeowners policies—like Farmers Smart Plan Home®—that provide “all perils” coverage typically would cover the damage to your pool and fence caused in this scenario. Your own auto policy also may be able to help provide coverage for property damage if you purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage (“UMPD”). However, UMPD is not offered in all states.
"What happens if someone is hurt on my property by a driver? Will any of my insurance policies provide coverage for any injuries?"
Homeowners insurance policies—like Farmers Smart Plan Home—may provide limited medical payments to others. Subject to policy limits, this coverage feature may help pay some medical bills of others who are hurt on your property and regardless of fault. Your own auto policy also might cover bodily injuries in this scenarios if you purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage ("UM/UIM"). This coverage is designed to fill in the gaps if the negligent driver is uninsured or if the other driver does not have enough insurance to pay for all of the bodily injury damages he/she caused. Again, your UM/UIM limits would determine how much your auto policy would pay in this case.
Your insurance agent can help you understand whether your policy includes these types of coverage. Or talk to Farmers to discuss insurance options so you can select the coverage and limits you want.
Talk to an agent about a home insurance policy today.
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