YOU ASK:

Will your homeowners insurance cover damages caused by a hit and run driver who smashes into your brick wall fence?

WE ANSWER:

Yes, the homeowners insurance will cover the damages, particularly if you can't claim from the "offending" party.

But, before the insurance company cuts a check for the damages, they will look into:

  • Whether the damage in the wall was indeed caused by a vehicle and not just because the wall was old or poorly maintained.
  • Whether the car that did the damage was not the insured's car. You might have intentionally bumped your car into the wall just to file a claim. They may look into all your cars, as well as the cars of your immediate neighbors in an effort to identify whether these cars were involved in the hit and run that damaged your wall.

The insurance company will check this since according to their experience, cosmetic damages such as this may be "self-inflicted" as part of an effort by some unscrupulous policy holders to claim against their homeowners insurance policy.

After the insurance company has sufficiently proven that the wall was indeed damaged by a hit and run, they will pay the cost of repairing the wall less the deductible (as well as depreciation, if this applies). The insurance company may ask their representative to appraise the cost of the damage or they may ask you to give the estimate from your contractor as to how much the repairs would cost.

If the cost of repairing the wall is smaller than the deductible, it may be more practical not to inform your insurance agent or the company about this at all. You must remember that when you file this claim, it will become part of your claims records and will most likely cause your premiums to increase. Even if you ended up paying a considerable amount of the cost due to the deductible, it will still be counted as a claim.

Please note that the more claims you file within the policy year, the higher your premiums for the next year will be. In fact, if your claims are high enough, it can even result in the insurance company's refusal to renew your policy.

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