Question: If my car is parked in the garage (nobody in the car) and the garage door scrapes the back of the car as it is being lowered, is this a collision or comprehensive claim?
Answer: Your auto insurance provider will say that the moving garage door collided with your car, and thus you will need to file this accident under your collision coverage, not your comprehensive coverage.
Sometimes it’s hard to determine which incidents fall under collision coverage and which go under comprehensive coverage, since they both cover physical damage to your vehicle. Typically, the bulk of accidents that damage your car will go under your collision coverage.
Collision covers most anything that your car collides with or that collides with your vehicle. It may be a moving object, such as another car or a lowering garage door, or a stationary object, such as a tree, pole, fence or house.
Collision also covers the upset of your vehicle. If you flip your car, roll your car, slip down an embankment or even hit a curb, it normally will fall under your collision insurance coverage.
Comprehensive coverage then covers events that are “other than collision,” which is sometimes what this coverage is called.
Comprehensive insurance coverage covers your vehicle if you have a loss resulting from vandalism, theft, fire, falling objects, glass breakage or impact with an animal. (See "You hit a deer -- will your insurance cover it?")
Also, damage to your car that resulted from a natural event, such as wind, hail or floodwaters, would fall under your comprehensive coverage. (See "Is your car is parked in disaster's path?")
If your car were only slightly scraped, I’d recommend that you get an estimate done first to see how expensive it will be to repair it before making a claim. It’s possible that the repair costs will be less than your collision deductible amount.
If repair costs are just a bit more than your deductible, you may still want to repair it on your own to keep a claim off of your car insurance record. Insurers look at collision claims as a risk factor in calculating your rates, but many will overlook comprehensive claims. In fact, some states don't allow comprehensive claims as a rating factor.
If your garage door were damaged by the event, that wouldn’t be covered by your car insurance policy. Your car’s property damage liability coverage doesn’t provide coverage for when you damage your own property. If you wanted to make an insurance claim for damage to your garage door, it would have to be through your homeowner’s policy, and there would be due a separate deductible for that claim.