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Learning to drive is a rite of passage, a coming-of-age process that nearly every parent will stress over at some point in their child’s life.
It’s not that new drivers are always at fault, but mistaking the gas and brake pedals is a common mistake — one that is often committed by new drivers while the vehicle is parked in the driveway or garage of mom and dad’s house. Sometimes, it might even be mom or dad at the wheel when this happens.
So now that you’ve put a hole in your sheetrock or a dent in the garage door, what can you do about it?
Assess the Damage
For starters, relax and understand that the world has not ended. Most of the time, these are low-speed crashes. It could be worse. You could live in a house strangers constantly crash into.
You’ll need to take stock of things and find out whether it is necessary to file an insurance claim against your auto policy and/or homeowner’s insurance. If you have collision coverage on the vehicle, and the driver who was at fault is listed on the policy, you can usually receive reimbursement for damage to the car.
Getting damage to your home repaired can be a little more tricky. Liability insurance won’t help you in this situation. A homeowner’s policy might — however, you should avoid filing a claim if you can so you can skirt the risk that the insurance cancels on you.
What to Look For
In most cases, damage is going to be to the front of the home on or near the garage. Pay special attention to your garage door. If you’re like most homeowners, you park in your garage, and a damaged door can become a safety hazard. Minor dents and dings are alright. However, if the door is inoperable or has left its runners, you’ll need to seek a replacement.
You can sometimes repair minor sheetrock damage yourself if you’re handy. There are patch kits available at your local hardware store, and you can replace the gypsum-based material with the use of a razor knife, a few nails and some basic painting skills. You might need assistance getting the texture on just right.
In Case of Major Damage
Significant damage to your home is going to require a claim. Your deductible for homeowner’s insurance is probably quite high, so be prepared to pay out-of-pocket for much of the cost. You might want to get a quote from a contractor to see whether it’s more efficient to hire someone privately to do the work or file a claim.
You can probably tell that there’s not much you can do in this situation. At the end of the day, you’re spending some money. But hey, if you’ve been waiting for the right time to upgrade your garage door or switch from brick to stone, here’s your chance!