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12/18/2017
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Property Damage Liability

Does Property Damage Coverage Protect My Car From Fire?
My Car Was Stolen and Involved in an Accident. Who Pays?
Car Accident Property Damage
Relocating and Your Auto Coverage
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1. Does Property Damage Coverage Protect My Car From Fire?
Property damage coverage is designed solely to protect you from paying out-of-pocket expenses to fix another driver's vehicle if you caused the accident. It's easy to confuse property damage coverage with comprehensive insurance because the phrase "property damage" seems to imply any damage at all to a vehicle. Property damage may pay for a car fire in the other driver's vehicle -- if the fire started as a result of an accident you caused. Property damage coverage will not pay for a fire in your own car, car vandalism or other situations covered by comprehensive insurance. The best way to think of property damage coverage is to remember that it applies when you are at fault; it pays for property damage caused by your car. Top

2. My Car Was Stolen and Involved in an Accident. Who Pays?
Your insurance policy provides for auto theft coverage to pay if your vehicle was stolen, and your property damage coverage pays when you get into an accident that was your fault. However, if your car is involved in an accident after being stolen, you are not held responsible for the damages. It's not fair to make you liable for an accident when the car was taken without your permission. That doesn't mean that your insurance won't pay for the damage to your vehicle after it was stolen -- that is one of the main reasons to carry a comprehensive policy and other coverages.

If your stolen car is involved in an accident, the other driver's coverage applies. Your property damage coverage only applies when you or the other drivers named on your policy are behind the wheel. Some policies may apply coverage for those who use your car with permission, but in these cases you should add the name of any frequent user to your policy. Top

3. Car Accident Property Damage
One of the reasons insurance experts recommend carrying car accident property damage coverage far above the minimums is because of the potential costs involved if you cause additional damage besides what is done to the vehicles themselves. If you are responsible for an accident where a nearby building is damaged, the costs can go into the thousands to replace glass storefront windows, gasoline pumps or other stationary objects.

One way to begin evaluating how much property damage coverage to carry is to ask your insurance carrier to give you average claims data on property damage for drivers in your zip code or driving area. Ask for a recommended amount based on local risk factors. If you drive mainly on empty country roads your risks may not be as great as for those who drive in congested city streets. Find out what the average risk for your area is and carry the appropriate property damage coverage. Top

4. Relocating and Your Auto Coverage
If you are planning a move to a new state, your auto theft coverage, property damage coverage and other insurance policies may change based on the laws and rates in your new state. Are you moving to an area with lower risks associated with your auto theft coverage? Are the property damage coverage laws different in your new state? Contact your insurance company as soon as you know your new address and zip code. Chances are, in order to register your car in your new state, you will be required to actually change your policy to reflect that state's insurance. See our state pages here for specific details on your new state's car insurance requirements.

Do you carry minimum coverages limits? Each state specifies different minimums which may require you to buy additional insurance coverage. Your insurer (and the DMV) knows for sure. Get in touch as soon as (or before) you move. Top



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