Do I need special homeowners insurance for a shared driveway?
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Asked April 29, 2013
A standard homeowner's insurance policy includes protection for your entire driveway along with the dwelling and other structures on the property. Even a shared driveway, such as with a rented cottage, a single-car driveway, or a double-car driveway, the owner of the primary home is considered the owner of the driveway. A standard home insurance policy will cover the shared driveway, up to and including the parking spaces set aside specifically for the rented property.
The only time the common driveway needs to be insured differently would be where you have conveyed responsibility for the drive to someone else. Even then, your home insurance will cover the common driveway unless the responsibility is spelled out in a lease or other legal document. For example, the lease might specify that the renter is responsible for the driveway after a certain point, or up to a specific place. Unless it is specifically listed, the renter would not have to maintain the drive or accept responsibility for it, until you have detailed in writing how the drive is divided or where the responsibility for the tenant begins.
Keep in mind that insurance obligations and ownership are not the same things. In the case of a tenant, you cannot force someone who lets an apartment from you to perform driveway maintenance. Similarly, the tenant is within their rights to use thei portion of their driveway space you have specified as their own, including adding decorations or making non-permanent changes. For insurance purposes, it does not matter whose job it is to paint the drive, only who assumes liability responsibility.
In most circumstances, the owner of the property will retain responsibility for the shared drive. Any injuries or damages that arise from the driveway will be covered under the property owner's insurance. Under some circumstances, the driveway is shared up to a point and then split into individual drives. In this case, the property owner is still the responsible party until and unless they have transferred that responsibility to someone else in a legal contract or document.
Answered April 29, 2013 by Anonymous