Do I need to cover myself from any liability to damage for a car owned by my ex-wife and driven by my children?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Do I need to cover myself from any liability to damage for a car owned by my ex-wife and driven by my children?

She has insurance on the car but do I need to do anything to protect myself, if any damage occurs to the vehicle while the vehicle is at my house or in my garage? For example, if someone comes by and breaks the windows, am I liable?

Asked on October 19, 2016 under Accident Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You would only be liable for damage to the car done while parked at your house if:
1) You cause the damage (e.g. you back another car into it; while cutting a tree limb, you drop it on the windshield);
2) A minor under your control causes the damage (e.g. if your children are minors and they are skate boarding in the driveway by the parked car and one damages it);
3) You negligently (or minors under your control negligently) contributed to damage or loss occuring, such as if you left the driver's door wide open and keys inside, so someone stole it because of that; or you were painting your house with the car parked right under where you were painting (e.g didn't move the car, which a reasonable person would do) and dropped a bucket of paint on it.
But if some third party--neighborhood teenages not under your control, out on Mischief Night--does damage to it without you having facilitated the damage through your carelessness, you would not be liable.

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 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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