24 March 2015

Losses and Lessons: ’66 Mustang could have used gnome-owners insurance

VEHICLE(S) COVERED: 1966 Ford Mustang

WHAT WENT WRONG: Sometimes “safe” isn’t safe enough, even when your classic is parked in the garage. Most of us don’t own a garage that’s actually a car showroom, so danger lurks on the walls, shelves and rafters in the form of rakes, brooms, tools and boxes – even garden figurines. For example, the owner of a 1966 Mustang parked his classic in the garage for the night, but when he returned the next morning the car had a large dent in the left rear quarter panel. It didn’t take long to discover what had happened; a garden gnome had fallen off a shelf and landed on the car.

DAMAGE/LOSS: Cost to repair the dent and chipped/scratched paint caused by the skydiving gnome was $2,170.59, which Hagerty paid.

LESSON: Whenever you pull into your garage – whether you’re driving your classic or daily vehicle – anticipate the worst. Survey the immediate area and ask yourself, “If that (object) fell, would it hit the car?” If the answer is yes, move it a safe distance away or find a way to ensure that it stays put. And consider covering your classic after taking a drive. It won’t be protected from everything, but should something fall on your car, a cover could lessen any damage.

11 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Dave Brighton, Co. March 25, 2015 at 16:33
    Don't think that this cant happen to you! just last week I had a shelf that was attached to the wall for 15 years fail and drop 4 large coolers on the hood and fenders of my 1972 Maverick Grabber 302. Thank you Hagerty for taking care of the damage. You can bet all my shelves have been reinforced.
  • 2
    Kevin Hildreth Medford Oregon March 25, 2015 at 18:14
    I can relate to the story. A few years ago I rented a duplex with a rather large two car garage with an old loud and vibrating garage door opener. First night I parked my Cadillac, classic motor cycle and my baby. (72 q-code grabber blue Mach one. Hit the button shut the door and walked away. Got to the front door and heard a very loud sound coming from the garage. Opened the door and almost cried. On my right front fender and hood there was multiple eight foot long two by fours that had vibrated loose from the rafters. Still got the dent and dings to this day. Funny how I never thought of calling haggerty for a claim. Now when I park my car I always look up to see if anything could fall on top of it. Well that's my story i hope people Can learn from it
  • 3
    dennis coffin hot springs village arkansas March 26, 2015 at 15:18
    Recently the plastic bulb cover on the garage door opener popped off and hit my 14 Stingray. Fortunately it is a convertible and it bounced off the soft top. Removed the second cover..
  • 4
    Gaylene Portland, OR March 26, 2015 at 17:22
    Yep. I have chips in the clear coat on the quarter panel of my Barracuda from an old wire magazine rack that fell off a cabinet and against my car. That magazine rack went straight to the scrap heap.
  • 5
    Ken Geelhaar Balto, Md March 26, 2015 at 08:23
    If you ever watch shows like the Amazing Race you know that garden gnomes are living the good life. Like surfing, scuba diving, vacationing to exotic places. That garden gnome was obviously angry it wasn't cruising in that Mustang to shows and took revenge. That owner better start taking that gnome for drives!
  • 6
    Ken Schmidt Baltimore, MD March 26, 2015 at 09:02
    i almost had a catastrophe with my Chevelle in the garage - one of the waqll brackets holding up an 8' wood ladder pulled out of the CMU wall and left the ladder hanging by only one bracket. I was lucky that the one end of the ladder 'slid' down the wall and came to rest on the floor, and did not land on my Chevelle. I quickly ran to the hardware store and refastened the bracket with heavier anchors. Whew!
  • 7
    giuliano frappaolo Belleville N.J. March 26, 2015 at 21:09
    The springs that pull the garage door up snaped and slamed into back of garage,lucky for my 89 vett the spring that broke got caught on moving blankets that I kept on back wall
  • 8
    Joe Sellers Canton, Ga March 26, 2015 at 11:15
    This is great advice. I park my car in the garage and I have a fairly thick California car cover that I put over it. It's a hassle to take the extra step but it has protected the car from my kids when they get their bikes out or when someone wants to push the mower out of the garage. It might not be enough to protect it from flying garden gnomes but it helps prevent lots of other little bumps and scrapes.
  • 9
    Jack L. U.B.E . , Pa. March 27, 2015 at 10:37
    Watch for garage door springs to fail ! They should have a cable thru the middle of spring so in case of failure it don't fall on your classic . My spring left loose and the safety cable was not securely attached allowing the spring to fall apparently missing my covered 69 Camaro and landed against the tire of my custom chopper !
  • 10
    Drew Carapella Rochester NY March 27, 2015 at 11:41
    The one big flaw on my 1950 Chevy Deluxe is a gouge and missing paint the size and shape of a pair of needle nose pliers on the rear corner of the roof. A bike fell when the previous owner's son was storing the car. I will fix when I make some other repairs ... But yes, make sure nothing is near your car in the garage. Also, 24"x24"x24" box with a landscaping brick in it, wrapped and bowed to look like a Christmas present on the front porch once feel from the rafters and smashed the roof of a 2001 BMW I had purchased to fix and sell. Thank goodness I was already repairing dents/dings/rust. That was my own lesson learned.
  • 11
    Bob Flucke 33410-3448 May 31, 2017 at 22:52
    I have prizewinning 40 Lincoln Zephyr Continental which I leave in the garage in FL when I go to MI Summers to play with my 53 Studebaker coupe. It usually wears a lookalike custom top cover. One year I also added a fitted car cover. When I returned to FL in the Fall the portion of the plaster ceiling one the car had dropped from a water leak! The combo of covers and the fact that pre-war Lincolns have thick skins saved the car. Most of my tools on the pegboards next the car were rusted but you can salvage/replace tools. Sometime even bad luck could be a lot worse.

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