We usually worry about another driver crashing into us on the road or in a parking lot, but what happens if a driver crashes into your house? Let’s take a closer look at this less frequent, but still stressful, type of car accident.
First, Check for Injuries and Call 911
Having a car crash into your house is terrifying, especially if you’re just sitting in the living room minding your own business when a Toyota comes crashing through the wall like a demented Kool-Aid man. Your first order of business should be to check for injuries — both in your home and in the car. Make sure everyone is OK, and if there are any signs of injuries, don’t move the injured party.
While you’re doing that, call 911 and let them know you need first responders because someone just crashed a car into your house. The dispatcher will send police and EMTs as necessary.
Next, Collect Information
This part is just like any other car accident. It’s time to start collecting names, contact information and insurance. Instead of calling your car insurance company, though, you need to put in a call to your homeowner’s insurance. Just make them aware there are damages and that you will need an adjuster to come out to your home to assess them. They likely won’t take any steps until you’ve received the police report, but it’s good to get the ball rolling in the meantime.
What Happens If the Driver Is Insured?
Whether the driver is insured or not, they will be liable for any damages caused to your property. That’s a given — but what’s not guaranteed is how much their insurance will pay out for those damages.
Auto insurance policies have a property damage clause. This amount is what will pay for the damages to your home — but only up to a point. That point is whatever amount is listed on the driver’s insurance policy under that clause. Even if the insurance company pays out $20,000, as listed in the insurance policy, they are under no obligation to pay out any more than that, even if their driver was at fault for the accident. You could still end up having to pay for the rest of the damage to your home.
What Happens If the Driver Is Uninsured?
If the driver who crashed into your home has no insurance, you could be on the hook for a lot more than just the balance after the insurance payout. Most homeowners’ insurance policies have a clause that covers a car crashing into your house — it’s listed as a “covered peril” — but you’ll still be responsible for the homeowner’s insurance deductible. Depending on your policy, making a claim can be expensive, so it’s important to read the fine print, ideally before someone decides to give your house a drive-through, so you’re aware of what is covered and what isn’t.
You can always try to sue the uninsured driver, but then you risk ending up with court costs and no guarantee they will be able to pay anyway, so that’s something you should talk to a lawyer about to ensure it’s the best course of action.
Fixing the Damage
You’ll want to get the damage replaced as soon as possible. Depending on where the damage was, you may need to find a different place to stay for a few days. If the walls and foundation are damaged, make sure you stay out until it’s fixed. Even if they crashed into your garage, the broken door could be a major safety issue. Your insurance should cover the repairs, but you can expect it to be a few days before everything is back to normal.
A driver crashing into your house is never a walk in the park, but if you stay calm and follow the steps above, you won’t need to worry.