A garage door is the most important part of your garage and a substantial part of your home. If the door is damaged the garage will probably not be functional, your home may look bad, and the contents of your garage could become vulnerable to theft and further damage by the elements.
Contacting Your Insurance Company
In the event of garage door damage which you believe should be covered by your insurance policy, contact your insurance company. They will probably tell you to contact a number of professional garage door repairmen and receive estimates. If there is extensive damage beyond the garage door itself, like leaking for instance, you may have to contact additional contractors such as plumbers. The next step is to arrange for an adjuster to come and evaluate the damage. Many insurance policies have time limits on the amount of time that can pass between the incident of the damage and the filing of the claim so don’t push it off.
What to Do
Inspect your garage door thoroughly and take photographs immediately. Factors at the site of the damage can change with the passing of time, such as standing water, for example, so it’s important to have evidence to present to the inspector. Additionally, while you should protect your home from further damage, be sure not to make any extensive repairs before your claim is accepted.
Types of Damage
There are many potential repairs that a garage door can require due to a host of different causes. The extent to which your insurance policy will cover the cost of the repairs depends on the policy you have. In the event that your claim exceeds the cost your policy covers or the damage was caused by something not covered, you will have to hire a contractor and pay for the cost on your own.
Types of Policies
Be aware of what kind of insurance policy you have and determine if the source of the damage fits the claim. For example, damage incurred from a hurricane may only be covered if you have disaster insurance, while damage from ordinary rain is a different story. If you live in an area like Miami, hurricane damage may be included in some standard policies, due to their frequency . Additionally, most policies don’t cover typical aging and wear-and-tear damage that require periodic maintenance.
Things to Consider
It’s always important to weigh the cost of the repair against the cost of deductibles and potential elevated insurance premiums. It’s usually not worth filing claims for inexpensive repairs, though you should calculate the minimal repair cost that’s worthwhile to claim for your policy.
If the garage door was damaged by a car, automobile insurance may cover the damage and not homeowner’s insurance, depending on the circumstances.
If you have a disputed claim, be sure to keep detailed notes of conversations you have with experts and with insurance company personnel, including names of people and dates, as well as receipts for all expenses incurred due to temporary repairs or interim solutions. If you wish to contest the insurance company’s evaluation, have the company cite the language in the claim from which they are basing their decision. If you still disagree, contact an attorney.