What Happens If a Tree Falls On My Car?
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If you have ever had a tree fall on your car, you know the trunk and branches can cause extensive damage. When you are facing thousands in repairs, you may be wondering what you should do and if your car insurance will cover the cost of those damages. If a tree is on your neighbor’s property when it fell on your car, your neighbor would be liable for the damage. This is because tree damage is covered by premises liability, which states that the owner of the property is responsible for dangerous conditions, negligent tree maintenance and more. If it was a tree on your property, you may be liable for the damages unless the tree came down due to unforeseen circumstances. Here’s everything you need to know about tree damage to a car.
Does Insurance Cover a Tree Falling on My Car?
If a tree or tree branch falls on your car and causes damage, you will need comprehensive car insurance to cover the cost of repairs. People mistakenly believe that liability car insurance will cover this damage, when it only covers costs to others or damaged property in the event of a car collision. Comprehensive car insurance covers non-accident related accidents like a fallen tree. It can also protect your car from damage related to:
You can add comprehensive coverage to your auto policy, and it doesn’t cost much. Not having comprehensive coverage when a tree falls on your car would result in you having to pay out-of-pocket for repairs.
What Should I Do if a Tree Damages My Car?
Here are a few steps you should do if a tree falls on your car and damages it:
- Take pictures: If your car has sustained damage from a fallen tree or branch, you will want to take photos as proof of the damage for your insurer. You should include the damaged areas and the tree itself.
- Pick up any debris if you can: After taking photos of the tree damage, you should next pick up any debris from your car. However, only do this if it won’t cause further damage and if you are able to do so safely. While your comprehensive car insurance will cover damage to your car, it won’t cover the cost to remove fallen trees or branches. If the tree is on your property, your homeowners insurance should cover the cost for removal unless it was a diseased or neglected tree.
- Assess the damage and determine your coverage: Get a good estimate of the damage and what your car insurance policy limits and deductible are. If the damage is minimal and less than your deductible, you may want to just pay out-of-pocket. Any time you file a claim, your annual premium will go up regardless of whether the claim is paid or not.
- File a claim: Once you’ve determined the extent of the damage and your coverage, call your insurer to file a claim. They will let you know the next steps you will need to take. If the cost to repair your car is more than it is worth, your insurer will “total” it and cut you a check for the actual cash value of your car. This is the fair market value minus depreciation.
Types of Fallen Tree Damage
Anytime you park your car outdoors, you risk having it damaged by falling objects and debris. One of the leading causes of property damage are falling trees during thunderstorms or heavy winds. Some types of fallen tree damage include:
You Hit a Fallen Tree on the Road
Hitting a tree that’s fallen on the road is different than having a falling object hit your car. Running into any object is considered a collision. In this case, you would need collision insurance.
Your Tree Falls on Your Car
If a tree from your property falls on your car, you would be responsible for paying the deductible from your policy if the claim is paid. Unless the tree fell after a storm or some unforeseen event, your insurer may not provide coverage since maintaining trees on your property is your responsibility. Therefore, if you have any old or damaged trees on your property, make sure you treat or remove them with the help of a professional arborist.
Your Tree Falls on Your Neighbor’s Car
If your tree falls on your neighbor’s car, you may be liable if it is proven that your negligence was the cause of the fall. Your insurer will not cover the damages in this case and you will have to cover the costs out of your own pocket.
Your Neighbor’s Tree Falls on Your Car
If your neighbor’s tree falls on your car, your neighbor is responsible for the repairs. You must show evidence that your neighbor knew the tree presented a hazard and did nothing about it. Both insurance companies will fight the claim so it’s important to gather evidence.
City-Owned Tree Falls on Your Car
If a city-owned tree falls on your car, immediately contact your local government authority to send someone to remove the tree. If the tree was decayed or presented a hazard prior to the fall, the city must cover the damages.
Do I Need Additional Coverage for the Risk of Tree Damage?
Comprehensive insurance is an optional policy that covers non-collision damage to your car. This typically includes events like tree damage, theft, animal damage and hail damage. If you are leasing or financing your car then your lender will require that you purchase comprehensive insurance. Before filing a claim for tree damage through your comprehensive coverage, make sure you understand your coverage limits and deductible. In minor damage cases, you may just decide to pay for the cost yourself.
Get the Right Comprehensive Coverage for Your Car
Comprehensive car insurance covers falling objects and is an affordable add-on coverage. SmartFinancial can help you find the lowest prices for an auto insurance package that fits your budget and needs. Enter your zip code below or call 855.214.2291 to receive free car insurance quotes in your area now.