Is my home owners or car insurance responsible if my son damages another persons car by accident?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Sep 23, 2010

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Insurance Question from Boise, ID

Asked on 09/23/2010

Is my home owners or car insurance responsible if my son damages another persons car by accident? My son was in a car with a family friend and opened the passenger door just as another car was pulling in to park. There was damage to the car that was parking. I turned this into my auto insurance they won't cover they also said my home owners would not cover this either. Can you explain why one of these insurances shouldn't have to pay this?

Answer given on September 25, 2010

Damages involving autos is covered by automobile insurance.  However, in most states the insurance follows the car.  Since your son was apparently a passenger in the car, the damage to the other person’s car would be covered by the policy insuring the car being driven – your son’s friend.

You should talk to your insurance agent, but also talk to the friend and ask them to file a claim with their insurance company.  This would not go against the friend, so their rates will not be affected. 

The other person’s insurance could cover the damages, but there would be a deductible applied to the damage so the other person will most likely want the damages covered by the owner of the car.  Again, there would be no effect on the premiums of the car’s owner.

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