Trees can pose significant obstacles and result in various damages to automobiles. They have the potential to fall or have branches blown over vehicles during strong winds. They can be uprooted and carried by floods or lose stability in heavy rain, leading to damage to multiple vehicles in their path. If you have a full coverage car insurance policy with Collision and Comprehensive, you may be covered for most types of damages caused by trees impacting your vehicle or if you collide with them.
Collision and comprehensive coverages are optional but they are often required if you have a loan or lease your car. According to latest figures, around 78% of motorists have full coverage auto insurance policies that provide both liability and physical damages coverages.
If you have liability only vehicle insurance, you are protected when people you injured or cause damages make a claim against you to recover their losses. Liability coverage doesn’t provide any physical damages protection for your own vehicle and therefore wouldn’t cover any sort of tree damages.
Comprehensive coverage is usually for damages to your automobile deemed to be out of your control. It is often called other than collision, since it protects your vehicle against many perils such as fire, theft, vandalism and acts of nature, except collision. Auto insurance Comprehensive coverage may pay for repairs or replacement of your car, if a hurricane, tornado, or strong windstorm uproots trees onto your vehicle, simply sends branches flying in the air that happen to find a way to your vehicle.
Collision coverage pays for damages to your vehicle in case of traffic accidents regardless of who was at fault. This could be accidents involving other vehicles or hitting other objects, rails, posts and trees either after coming off the road or when they are lying in the middle of the road. If you collide with a tree, low-hanging branches or hit a fallen tree on the road, your vehicle insurance collision coverage would pay for your repairs or replacement of the vehicle in case it is totaled.
Both Comprehensive and Collision come with their own deductibles. So, when you make a claim, you will need to pay deductibles out of pocket and the rest would be covered by your insurer. If you collide with a tree and sustain severe damages or your automobile is totaled, you may have no option but to make a claim on your policy.
However, if it is a single vehicle accident and the damage is minor, it may not be worth filing a claim. Unlike Comprehensive coverage, Collision claims are considered at-fault accidents and increase your car insurance premium much more than if the accident was classified as a Comprehensive claim.
Usually, Collision coverage is more expensive to buy, deductible may be higher and a claim on this coverage can cause your premium to go up significantly. Comprehensive claims are usually considered out of your control and therefore auto insurance premium increases after them are minimal in comparison. So it may be worth considering paying small collision claims out of pocket, depending on your ability at the time.
Responsibility for a Fallen Tree
First of all, your vehicle insurance policy Comprehensive coverage would pay for the damage caused by a fallen tree on your vehicle that alleviates your problems. It is difficult to blame a neighbor or owner of the tree in most cases, unless they were clearly negligent and didn’t look after their trees. If you have been complaining about a tree with dead roots and your neighbor was doing nothing about it, you may be able to blame them and may consider making a claim on their home insurance. Also, you may be able to blame a tree surgeon if they cut a branch that fell on your car. Then, their business insurance may pay for your damages. Otherwise, it is hard to blame others for tree damages.
What happens if a tree falls on my car while I’m driving?
If your car is hit by a falling tree while you’re driving, your comprehensive coverage should pay for the damage. However, if you hit a tree that has already fallen into the road, you may need collision coverage for the damage to be covered.
There is a significant distinction between encountering a tree falling on your vehicle while driving and hitting a tree that has already fallen onto the road. In the case of a tree or branch landing on your vehicle, there is little you can do to prevent it, making it fall under Comprehensive coverage for insurance claims, even if it occurs while you are driving.
Conversely, when driving, it is your responsibility to remain vigilant for potential dangers and obstacles on the road. Hence, if you collide with a tree or branch that has already fallen on the road, it is considered avoidable, leading your auto insurer to likely classify it as an at-fault crash and a Collision claim.
Remember to take action as soon as a tree falls on your car. Take photos of the damage from every angle and initiate the insurance claim process. Pay your deductible, and your comprehensive coverage will cover the rest of the repair costs. If the tree fell due to the actions of a third party, such as a tree removal service, gather their insurance information and provide it to your insurance company when you file your claim.
In conclusion, car insurance does cover tree damage in various scenarios, but you must have collision or comprehensive coverage. Liability only coverage will not suffice. Understanding your policy and its coverage is crucial to ensure you are protected and you know the consequences of different claims.