Does Car Insurance Cover Tree Damage?

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  • Does Car Insurance Cover Tree Damage?

One of the most underrated culprits of car damage is a tree. They can wreak havoc, being knocked over by the wind, uprooted by flash floods or accidentally driven into with your car. But if you have the right car insurance policy in place, you could be in luck — and completely covered due to many tree mishaps. Let’s take a look at what kind of tree damage is covered by auto insurance.

Does Car Insurance Cover Tree Damage?

Yes, car insurance covers tree damage in a few different instances, such as accidentally hitting a tree with your vehicle or suffering damage to your vehicle due to a falling tree. However, you must have collision or comprehensive coverage on your policy to be fully protected. Simply having liability coverage will not suffice.

Collision and comprehensive coverages are deemed to be full coverage auto insurance. The good news is that lenders require you to purchase and maintain full coverage while you’re still paying off a loan on a vehicle or if you’ve leased a vehicle. They do this to protect their investment because they still, technically, own the vehicle while you still owe payments.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage is designed to be utilized if you get into an accident and it’s deemed to be your fault. While multi-vehicle accidents are the most common and widely known form, lots of single-vehicle accidents occur every day — and those are where trees are known to come into play.

If you accidentally collide with a tree, or even if some low-hanging branches bust your windshield wide open, collision coverage can help step in to save the day. All you’d need to do is file a claim like you would for any other form of damage, pay your deductible and then your insurer would reimburse you for the damage.

If you hit a tree and totaled your vehicle, or just sustained severe damage, it would be wise to file an auto insurance claim. The damages would greatly exceed your deductible and you wouldn’t be stuck paying a chunk of money out of your own pocket.

However, if the damage is minor, it may not be worth filing a claim. Filing claims increase your auto insurance premiums over an extended period of time. So if you have a $500 deductible and the damage is only $1,000, you’d probably be better off paying out of pocket. You’d still have to pay $500 toward a claim, and your premiums may go up more than that through the following years.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage is designed to be utilized when something that’s deemed to be out of your control damages your vehicle. Many of these instances involve natural disasters like hurricanes and floods, which tend to wreak havoc on the trees in the area.

This coverage can come in handy if a hurricane, tornado or strong windstorm uproots trees onto your vehicle, simply sends branches flying through the sky that happen to find a way to your vehicle. In these cases, comprehensive coverage would foot the bill.

Like collision coverage, you’d just need to file a claim and pay your deductible to get started on the damage reimbursement process. Also like collision coverage, minor damage probably shouldn’t make its way to your insurer. You’d be better off paying for minor damage yourself rather than risking an increase in premiums due to a more affordable claim.

Liability Coverage

The only type of accident coverage that won’t cover tree damage is liability. It’s designed to cover damage to your car caused by multi-vehicle accidents that weren’t your fault. So a tree falling on your vehicle or accidentally hitting a tree with your vehicle wouldn’t be covered.

If a Tree Falls on Your Car, Who Is Responsible?

A tree that falls on your car is a tricky conundrum. Usually, the damage falls on the shoulders of the person who owns the tree, and it can typically be covered by home or commercial property insurance.

If your neighbor’s tree falls on your vehicle, they’d be held financially responsible to pay for the damages. If they have home insurance, including homeowners or renters, their policy’s liability coverage would likely foot the bill for the damages. However, if the damage is insignificant enough to skip a claim, they may be held financially responsible to pay out of their own pocket.

The same scenario can play out at commercial centers. If a tree falls on your vehicle in a commercial parking lot, the owner of that property is likely to be held financially responsible to pay for the damages, even if the tree was knocked over by a natural disaster.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.

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