If an auto hits a house and knocks it off its foundation, what happens if the repair cost exceeds the value of the home?

UPDATED: Feb 8, 2011

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If an auto hits a house and knocks it off its foundation, what happens if the repair cost exceeds the value of the home?

Auto hits older home (value ~21K) and knocks it off foundation. What temporary housing funds could be expected from insurance company?

Asked on February 8, 2011 under Accident Law, West Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Are you asking about what happens under the homeowner's insurance or what happens if a claim or lawsuit is made against the driver and his/her insurance?

1) Homeowner's insurance: depends entirely on what the policy says. The policy is a contract; it has to pay those benefits--and only those benefits--contained within it.

2) Claim or lawsuit: the home's owner could sue for the less of the current market value of the home or the cost to repair; the owner may also be able to sue for other out-of-pocket costs, like temporary housing or moving expenses. What the driver's insurance will pay, however, is limited to whatever the driver's property damage liabilty (or umbrella policy, if he/she has one, too) provides. Anything over what the insurance would pay, the driver him/herself would have to pay, if he/she is sued and loses. Of course, that assumes the driver has money to pay.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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