In most cases, when a tree falls on your car, your auto insurance will cover the cost of repairs and replacement, if you have full coverage – or, at the least, comprehensive coverage. There are some exceptions and circumstances, however, that may cause your insurance company to deny your claim.
Trees can weigh thousands of pounds and do major damage when they fall or lose limbs or branches. Since a tree cannot tell you when they are about to fall over or drop a heavy branch, it’s best to be proactive and have the right car insurance to handle this type of event.
What Causes a Tree to Fall on a Car?
There are many reasons a tree or a tree branch may fall on a car. It may just be old or a recent drought in the area may cause it to become brittle and start to die. Severe weather, such as an ice storm or high winds, can damage a tree and make it more likely to fall. Tree damage can also come from pests, such as sap-suckers, wood borers and defoliators.
When people don’t care for their trees properly, negligence can cause property damage from a falling tree. When trees begin to rot and die, an arborist should be called to help decide if it can be saved or if it needs to be taken down before an accident happens. Remember, falling branches can also hurt any people in their path
What Should I Do if a Tree Falls on My Car?
If you – and anybody else in the car or the vicinity – are not hurt, you should call your insurance company and start a claim. However, the answer depends on the circumstances surrounding the incident.
- My Tree, My Car: If your tree hits your car, then call your insurer and start a claim.
- My Tree, the Neighbor’s Car: The neighbor should start a claim with his or her insurer.
- The Neighbor’s Tree, My Car: Your insurance should cover your repairs, so begin a claim with your insurance company.
- A Public Tree, My Car: You will start a claim with your insurer.
Keep in mind if the tree had visible signs of rot or damage and you did nothing to mitigate it, your insurance company may deny your claim based on something called premises liability. This also comes into play if you have been told your tree may fall due to damage or negligence.
It’s always a good idea to have your trees inspected by a professional periodically or after a severe storm.
Does Insurance Cover a Tree Falling on My Car?
Your auto insurance coverage and what type of policy you have will help determine the answer. If it is determined that a tree fell on your car through no fault of your own and you have comprehensive coverage, then yes, your car insurance policy should help pay for repairs. Most comprehensive plans do have a deductible, so that will come either be paid by you out of pocket or subtracted from the total your insurer pays out.
If your neighbor’s tree fell on your car, your comprehensive coverage should still cover you, although your carrier and theirs may fight it out between themselves.
How Does Comprehensive Coverage Work?
In almost every case, comprehensive protects your vehicle when you are not behind the wheel. The exception to that is if you hit an animal. Typically, it doesn’t matter who is at fault. Your comprehensive should kick in for damages caused by a variety of cases, including:
- Natural disasters
- Falling objects
- Civil disturbance
Comprehensive doesn’t cover damages from a collision with another vehicle or object (except an animal).
Will Liability Cover Tree Damage?
No. Liability coverage is only to help pay for injuries and damages you cause to other people and property in an at-fault accident. If you live in a no-fault state, your liability will help pay for your own injuries and damages.
What if a Tree Hits My Home and Car?
If you own your home and you receive damage from a falling tree, your homeowners insurance should kick in to help pay for repairs. Again, there is the likelihood your insurance company may deny your claim if the tree was damaged, rotted or your negligence caused it to fall.
As a property owner, it’s up to you to take the necessary steps to protect and maintain your house and property. Part of that is ensuring your trees are healthy and not likely to fall or shed large branches and limbs. If they are determined to be unhealthy, you’ll be responsible for paying for tree removal.
Obviously, we cannot always know when a tree may fail, so if you’ve been doing your due diligence in regard to maintenance and a tree still falls on your home, your homeowners insurance will help you pay for the repairs.
Get Affordable Car Insurance Online Before Something Falls from the Sky
At Freeway Insurance, we are here to provide the best and most affordable auto insurance before a tree – or something else – falls from the sky. You can get a fast and free quote for car insurance online, give us a call at 800-777-5620 or stop by one of our convenient locations.