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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.


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