A Ball Hit My Car, Who Pays?

Smashed Car Window
Getty Images/William Andrew

A car can get damaged hundreds of different ways. Golf ball, baseball, soccer ball and others can all cause damage to a vehicle if it makes contact with enough speed. It is not uncommon for a car to get damaged by a ball at a sporting event or in the neighborhood pickup game. So what happens if a ball hits your car and damages the windshield or puts a dent in the body? Who pays for the repair? It can vary per circumstance and the forwardness of the person who hit or threw the ball.

Insurance can play a role in repairs if the out of pocket expense is too high.

File a Claim on Car Insurance

A claim can be filed on your car insurance policy if you have comprehensive coverage listed at the time the vehicle is damaged. Your deductible will apply. If the damage sustained to the vehicle is lower than the deductible, your insurance will not pay any money for repairs.

Will a Claim Affect My Car Insurance Rate?

Many insurance carriers do not surcharge for comprehensive claims. Lots do begin surcharging if you file three comprehensive claims in a three year period. While some insurance carriers surcharge for all claims including comprehensive. It is best to check with your insurance carrier to verify how they handle surcharging for different types of claims.

Who Pays the Deductible?

Often, out of moral obligation the at-fault person who hit, kicked, or threw the ball will come forward and offer to pay for the damages or the deductible.

The deductible can be a cheaper way to go for the person who caused the damage. Unfortunately, you are going to have a hard time forcing the at-fault person to pay up. If they are unwilling to take responsibility, you will be on your own unless you want to pursue small claims court.

File a Claim on Home Owners Policy

The at-fault party can file a claim on their home owner's policy for liability.

Many home policies do not have a deductible on liability, however, ‚Äčthe surcharge on a home policy can be steep at your next renewal due to filing a claim. A surcharge can last three years on home insurance policies. Often, paying out of pocket is the cheaper route to go. Home policies of the at-fault party cover adults and kids in accidental mishaps like this, but intentional vandalism is usually not covered. For your information, home owner's policy will not cover damage your kids caused to your vehicle!

Damage Occurs at Baseball Stadium or Golf Course

Most likely you will need to file a claim on your car insurance policy under comprehensive coverage if your vehicle is damaged at a baseball stadium or golf course. You probably will not know who caused the damage and the stadium or course will not accept liability. It certainly would not hurt to bring it to the stadium or golf courses attention. If they did not provide proper netting or other necessary safety measures, you could lawyer up and potentially have a case. Even though this may be a frustrating situation, hopefully, the cost of the damage will not warrant these steps.

Chances are even if you know who caused the damage you will not be able to go after them.

It is a risk you take when parking at a location with balls flying everywhere. Keep comprehensive coverage on your vehicle at all times if you are concerned with physical damage caused by balls.

So, Who Pays?

Expect to pay for repairs yourself. You will either have to pay out of your own pocket or by filing a claim on your car insurance policy. If the at-fault party comes forward or is caught red-handed, hopefully, moral obligation will take over and they will volunteer to cover the damages. Remember accidents happen and sometimes it is not worth the hassle and frustration to chase down the at-fault party.