Does my car insurance cover accidents on private property?

Your car insurance may cover accidents on private property, depending on the circumstances. Learn when these accidents are covered, when you should file a claim, and whether or not your auto insurance rates might go up.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 20, 2022

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Things to Remember

  • Auto insurance will typically cover car accidents on private property
  • Private property is property owned by anyone or anything, excluding the government
  • The property owner may be partially liable for car accidents on their property

If you’ve had a car accident on private property, you may be worried that your car insurance won’t cover it. How should you handle a situation like this? Read on to learn how to deal with car insurance claims for accidents on private property.

Things to Remember
Key InfoFrom Experts
Private property is any property owned by any entity other than the governmentCornell Law School Legal Information Institute
Regardless of where an accident occurs, if you're found to be at fault, it can increase your insurance rates by up to nearly 50%Quadrant
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You don’t want to get into an accident without the right car insurance, regardless of location. Enter your ZIP code and get a free quote on auto insurance and shop around right now.

Does car insurance cover accidents on private property?

If you only carry the minimum insurance coverage required by your state, this will only pay for damage to somebody else’s property and medical bills. Insurance would not pay for damage to your vehicle if the accident were your fault.

However, if you carry comprehensive or collision coverage, this insurance should pay for the damage to your vehicle. Having this can also be helpful if the other party involved disputes blame. It may also be wise to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which would help cover costs if the other party does not have proper protection.

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Who is at fault?

The property owner may be wholly or partly to blame in some cases. For example, you may have crashed your car due to existing damage to a road surface. If the property owner was aware of the damage but had not taken steps to fix it, they may be liable.

If you believe that the property owner may be at least partly at fault, you need to gather information to substantiate your claim. For example, take photos of the poor signage, bad road conditions, or other contributing factors, so your insurance company can decide. It would also help to get in touch with the property owner to discuss the situation. If a third party is involved, the property owner may have access to camera footage that could help to substantiate the claim.

Regardless of who is at fault, you should lodge a claim with your insurance company and provide as much detail as possible. 

Should I get a police report?

If the damage is significant or someone sustains an injury, try to get a police report and submit it to your insurance company. Note that the police will not automatically attend an accident on private property without sufficient reason. That may make it more challenging to get a police report. In most cases, the insurance company does not require a police report, but you should gather as much information as possible from the scene in its absence. Information should include insurance and phone number of anyone involved, contact details from witnesses (if any), and images or video from the accident scene.

What is private property?

According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, private property is property owned by anyone or anything other than the government. For example, this could include the parking lot at a mall or the roads that crisscross a theme park. In other words, you probably drive on private property every day. So if you have an accident that’s not on a public road, it very well may be on private property.

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Will my rates go up after an accident on private property?

If you file a claim, your rates may increase. The cost of your auto insurance after an accident will depend on several factors, including your previous driving record and claims history.

Ultimately, the effect on your car insurance coverage is dependent on who is at fault, who your coverage provider is, where you live, and other related factors. However, to give you an idea of what may happen, we’ve compared the rates for a clean driving record to a driving record with one accident for the major insurers across the country in this table. Take a look.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates for a Clean Record vs One Accident
CompaniesClean recordWith one accident
USAA$1,933.68$2,516.24
Geico$2,145.96$3,192.77
American Family$2,693.61$3,722.75
Nationwide$2,746.18$3,396.95
State Farm$2,821.18$3,396.01
Grand Total$3,102.08$4,076.60
Progressive$3,393.09$4,777.04
Travelers$3,447.69$4,289.74
Farmers$3,460.60$4,518.73
Allstate$3,819.90$4,987.68
Liberty Mutual$4,774.30$6,204.78
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As you can see, rates can vary significantly from one auto insurance company to the next.

Final Thoughts About Accidents on Private Property

If your car is damaged on private property, coverage will depend on the type of insurance you have in place and the liability of the parties involved. In some cases, the property owner may be at least partially responsible. You may not be able to get a police report to file with your claim, so you should gather as much information from the scene as possible. Unfortunately, your premiums may go up following a claim, so be sure to consider the extent of the damage before you proceed.

Before you go, take a moment to use your ZIP code to get a free quote on auto insurance and make sure you’ve got good coverage in case of an accident.

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