New White Garage Door

Tips for Buying a New Garage Door

Updated June 4, 2020 . AmFam Team

Replacing your garage door? Read how to choose a garage door that fits your aesthetic, budget, and safety needs with these tips from American Family Insurance.

The garage is an important part of your property, but its upkeep may not always be at the top of your mind. This is especially true for the garage door. Many homeowners don’t think about their garage door until it stops working and needs to be replaced. When that time comes, it’s key to choose a new garage door that will last a long time and provide the protection your home needs.

To help keep your home and car safe and sound, here’s everything you need to know about replacing your garage door.

Steel is the most popular garage door material because it is typically cheaper and more durable. Wood is a popular choice too because of how it can be customized with different patterns or finishes, but climate and sun exposure can mean lots of expensive maintenance.

What to Consider When Buying a Garage Door

Your garage door’s material is just one of many factors to consider when buying a new garage door. Keep in mind that this will be a big investment, and if you shop for safety, security and durability, you may not have to get a new one for a very long time. Here are some key factors to consider when buying a new garage door:

Security features

Because protecting your home and your family is always a priority, be sure to explore security features for your new garage door. Sometimes the best security measures for a garage door are what’s excluded rather than included.

A garage door with windows can be easier to break into than a door without them, so if break-ins are a concern, opt to exclude them. Consider installing motion sensors and security cameras which can provide additional protection right outside your garage door.

While a garage door can be the first line of defense for break-ins, it’s important to check that your homeowners insurance covers theft from your garage.

Wind and storm resistance

It’s important that your new garage door can withstand the elements. Leaving your garage door open during a high wind event can leave your garage and your home susceptible to structural failure. That's why it's extremely important to close your door during a storm. If the new door is prone to damage by wind or storms, chances are you’ll have to buy a new one way sooner than anticipated.

Generally, garage doors are more susceptible to damage from high winds, storms and hurricanes than other doors because of their size, so shop for doors advertised as “storm ready.” This means it has a built-in reinforcement system so you probably won’t have to install additional brackets or bracings to keep your door from being weather damaged.

Learn more about protecting your home from wind and storm damage.

Garage door type

Garage doors come in a handful of different types of designs. Choose the type of garage door that is most practical for your home. For many, that choice is the sectional garage door type because it takes up the least amount of space and is often the most affordable. If you have the room and you're interested in something different, consider a tilt up or swinging door.

Below are the four most popular types of garage doors and how they work.

Sectional garage doors

This door is comprised of parts that are bound together by hinges. This allows the door to bend, move on a vertical track and for the door to be stored above your car when opened. Sectional doors are the most popular garage door type because they are typically made from steel and are low maintenance.

Roll up

This door made of thin horizontal slats that can bend and curve will roll into a receiving barrel above the garage door when it is opened. You’ll see these used more often in storage units or commercial garages than homes. Often made of steel, this type of door may have low curb appeal, but they offer high security. Additionally, this is generally not the best door type for high wind or hurricane prone areas.

Tilt up

Tilt up – or canopy-style doors – use a single, solid door that tilts up into the garage using a pivoting hinge mechanism. When open, a part of the door will extend past the front of your garage. This type is also often available in a retractable variant that completely goes into your garage when open.


These doors have hinges on its sides that allow the door to swing open instead of moving up or down. This old-fashioned design resembles barn doors and is less common in modern homes because they’re prone to damaging the garage during high-wind events.

Garage door insulation

Insulating your garage door means you’ll have a warmer garage and a more energy efficient home. Do your homework online and explore insulation options that are built into the garage door materials and type you want. Polystyrene and polyurethane are the two most common types of garage insulation materials, with polyurethane being a bit more costly — but it does have a higher R value.


While not as important as safety or security, don’t forget to choose a garage door that fits your home’s style. A good-looking garage door can add curb appeal, add value to your home and help to tie the overall design together. You can still stay within your budget if a door you selected doesn’t necessarily match the rest of your home.

Aluminum sectional doors can be customized just as much as wood with the right paint. And adding your own personal flair with stenciled patterns can make a big difference. Before you get too crafty, be sure to find an exterior paint primer that works best with the material of your new door.

Make Sure Your Garage Door is Protected

A new garage door can help make your home look brand new and help protect everything you store inside it. To keep your new door and the rest of your property protected from the unexpected, be sure to revisit your homeowners insurance coverage options. Reach out to your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) and custom design a policy to best protect your home and everything that means so much.

Is my detached garage covered?

If you have a detached garage used for storing vehicles, it can be covered as an other structure in homeowners insurance. Learn more by speaking with your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab).

Tools & Resources

Explore our tools and smart tips.