What Types of Damage Is a City Responsible For?

City's Damage Responsibilities in San Diego, CA

If you own a home, business, or vehicle, you may have damage done to your property at some point. You will come to find there are certain types of damages you are responsible for and others the city may be required to fix. The city’s responsibilities can range from damage to a building caused by city workers to destruction of a car on a city street. Here are a few situations where it may be difficult to tell who needs to pay.


If you’ve traveled on a busy city street, you have probably encountered these small holes that can cause damage to your car. Potholes can knock cars out of alignment and sometimes cause flat tires as well. A city may be responsible for fixing these nuisances if they are within the city limits. If the driver can prove the pothole caused damage to his or her car, the city might also be held responsible for car repairs.

Broken Business Windows

Imagine this situation: a city worker repairing a street outside your business accidentally tosses debris at the window and breaks it. Since the worker is part of the city’s crew, the business would likely be eligible to have the window fixed. Any pictures or video taken at the time the window is broken should be used for backup to prove the damage wasn’t already present. However, if the same window is broken and the cause is unclear, it will need to be paid for by your commercial insurance in San Diego.


This can be a tricky area, but sidewalks along a city street are usually a city’s responsibility. However, there are some situations where a homeowner’s property extends to the sidewalk, which would mean the city probably doesn’t have to make any repairs to the damaged area. If you are responsible for the repairs, check your San Diego home insurance policy to see if the damage is covered.

Trees and Limbs

In the event a tree or limb falls on a car in the city limits, a claim can be made if there was some kind of damage to the tree the city didn’t correct. If the tree falls due to a storm or high winds, the city is usually not responsible for repairs to the vehicle, but it would be liable for clearing away the tree and limbs from the streets and sidewalks. However, the damage done to your vehicle in this case would need to be paid for by your car insurance in San Diego.

Because there is often some grey area regarding what a city will cover when damage is done to private property, it’s important to make sure you have the coverage you need to keep yourself protected. For affordable, car, business, and homeowners insurance options, call American Tri-Star at 619-272-2100. We hope to hear from you soon.