When you’re getting home insurance quotes for your house, you need to make sure that you know what to expect when it comes to the insurance policy’s coverage of your garage. This is a common situation in the US, where 85% of all single-family homes have garages. About 3 out of 10 homes have garages big enough for 3 cars. So you need to make that your insurance coverage is adequate when it comes to your garage.
To help you out, here are some facts that you may not have known about:
- Boats and land vehicles (like your car and motorcycle) are not covered by home insurance. You need a separate insurance policy for these vehicles if you want them covered. However, most of the other items you store in there, including your lawnmower and patio furniture, are covered.
- A garage is regarded as an “other structure” on a typical home insurance policy, if it’s not attached to the main house. So your “other structure” coverage should be enough to replace the garage and its contents should a problem come up. If your garage is attached to your main house, it’s part of the “dwelling amount.” This means that the contents of your garage will be like the contents of the main house. They will be counted as part of your personal property limit. This limit varies depending on the state. In North Carolina, for example, the replacement cost of your household content is generally 70% of the dwelling value. So if your house is worth $500,000 then the contents of your home (including the contents of the attached garage) is covered up to $350,000.
- If you have expensive items in your garage such as precious artworks, or antique rugs, you should have them covered in a separate policy with additional coverage beyond what’s usually covered by the policy.
- If you’re converting part of your garage into a living room or an additional bedroom, you should check with your city to see if that kind of construction is allowed. If it’s not and you build the bedroom anyway, the insurance may not cover the damage if something goes wrong. You have to check with your insurer before you make changes, and they will insist that the construction must be above-board.
- Building an additional bedroom without city approval isn’t a good idea, and not just because you can get caught. The bedroom may be in an area where there are furnaces and water heaters, and this can increase the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Increasing the amount of the coverage for your garage because of the items stored inside will naturally increase your premiums. The additional coverage you ask for will then affect the amount of the premium increase.
- It is possible for you to build a car lift or even a movie theatre in your garage, if it’s also allowed by your city. Again, before you start with the construction and installation, you should consult with your insurance company so your policy can be altered to cover the additional value. However, it is also possible that your insurance carrier will accept such a case.
- Whenever you’re in doubt about the proper amount of coverage you need, you should consult a professional insurance agent with experience in these matters. They’re the ones who can give you a better idea of the kind of coverage you actually need.
Always consult with your insurance whenever you make major change with your garage. It just makes good sense. They have the knowhow to give proper advice, and they can confirm whether any change you will do will also be covered by the policy. Just like with insurance policies, the key to upgrading your garage is to always play it safe!