If you have a car wreck, there’s a chance there will be property damage. Your car and other belongings might sustain damage. The belongings of other people might also become victims. As a result, the affected parties might want their car insurance to help pay for the damage to this property. While it might do so, it will likely have limited scope. Depending on what items sustain damage, you might have to look for coverage elsewhere.
Vehicle Damage and Car Insurance
Following a car wreck, your auto insurance might be able to help you out. However, whether you get benefits will depend on whether you have the right coverage.
If you are at fault for the wreck, meaning you caused it, then you will have to pay for your damage out of your own policy. However, to reap this benefit, you need collision insurance. Collision insurance will pay for repairs or for a total loss following the wreck. Many auto policies don’t automatically include this coverage, however. Always request that your agent add it to your policy.
If a wreck is not your fault, the responsibility to pay might fall on the driver who caused the wreck. As a result, Minnesota drivers must carry property damage liability (PDL) insurance. This is the coverage that will compensate third parties through the at-fault driver’s policy.
So, if you rear-end someone, then your own PDL policy can pay that driver for their repairs. Or, if someone runs a stoplight and hits you, then it is their PDL policy that might pay for your damage. Still, if an at-fault driver lacks liability insurance, then your own policy might include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that will pay for your own losses.
Damage to Property and Possessions
What about other items that get damaged in wrecks? Depending on what that item is, you might or might not be able to claim coverage:
Your auto insurance will generally not cover possessions carried in your car. However, your homeowners insurance might provide compensation. This applies also if you collide with your own property, like your mailbox. You will file the mailbox damage claim under your homeowners policy.
If you damage someone else’s property, like their fence, mailbox or home, then your PDL coverage will apply. It might also allow them to claim damage for certain possessions in a damaged car, like computers or phones.
In some cases, you can add a non-auto property damage endorsement to your own policy. This will add a degree of coverage to your policy for certain personal items damaged in wrecks. However, you will still likely have to prove that the damage occurred because of the wreck.