UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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It’s an awful feeling to walk outside and see a fallen tree branch on your car. But it’s an even worse feeling when you realize insurance might not cover the costs of repairing damage from a fallen tree branch.
Will auto insurance cover a falling tree branch? Can you expect your car insurance company to provide compensation for damage caused by a tree or storm? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about tree damage-related car repairs.
Comprehensive Auto Insurance Will Cover All Tree-Related Damages
Maybe a tree fell onto your car during a bad storm. Maybe you accidentally chopped a tree branch onto your car while trimming. Whatever the situation may be, your comprehensive insurance policy will cover damage caused by a fallen tree branch.
Comprehensive coverage is the most expensive type of car insurance available. As the name suggests, comprehensive coverage covers you against a comprehensive range of incidents. Comprehensive coverage covers damage caused by storms, for example, hail, theft, vandalism, and more.
Basic Liability Insurance and Collision-Only Insurance Does Not Cover Fallen Tree Branches
If you only have a basic car insurance plan, then tree-related damages will not be covered under your insurance plan.
If you only have basic liability coverage, for example, then your insurance only covers damages you inflict on other drivers during a collision. It does not cover the costs of repairing your own vehicle, nor does it cover the costs of tree-related damage or similar incidents.
Similarly, if you have collision-only coverage, then your insurance plan will cover damages you inflict on other drivers as well as damages to your own vehicle. However, it will not cover tree-related damages.
Check your insurance policy to determine if you have basic liability coverage, collision-only coverage, or comprehensive coverage. Ultimately, if you only have the state-required liability insurance or collision-only coverage, it’s unlikely that tree-related damage is covered. In this situation, you’ll likely have to pay for tree-related damage repairs out of pocket.
Consider Upgrading to Comprehensive Coverage
Are you worried about storm-related damage to your vehicle? If you live in a storm-prone part of the country, and if you park on the street near large trees, then your car is at a significantly higher risk of tree-related damage.
In this situation, you may want to consider paying more for comprehensive insurance – especially if you have a newer vehicle that you can’t afford to lose or repair.
Keep in mind that vehicles can also be damaged by falling tree branches while parked in a garage or other protected location. If you have a large tree, for example, then it might fall right through the roof of your garage in a storm. Unless you have comprehensive coverage, your car insurance will not cover damage to your vehicle in this situation. However, your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover this situation.
Does Home Insurance Cover Damages Caused by a Falling Tree Branch?
If a tree branch falls on your car, and your car is parked at home, then you might expect your home insurance policy to cover the damages. This is sometimes true.
This is where things can get confusing. If your car is parked at home, then your homeowner’s policy may cover damages to your vehicle – but only if those damages are caused during a natural disaster.
However, it’s unlikely that homeowner’s insurance will cover the costs of repairing damage caused by a falling tree branch. The only situation where homeowner’s insurance will pay for these repairs is if the tree fell through the roof of your garage. In this case, homeowner’s insurance will cover damage to your vehicle.
What Happens If a Neighbor Caused the Damage?
In some situations, a neighbor might chop down a tree and damage your vehicle.
Alternatively, in this situation, you may also choose to file a comprehensive claim on your own car insurance policy (assuming you have comprehensive coverage). Then, your insurance company will subrogate through your neighbor’s insurance company. That means your insurance company will cover your costs initially, then seek compensation through your neighbor’s insurance company.
Ultimately, state-required liability insurance will not typically cover damages caused by a fallen tree branch. If you have comprehensive coverage, however, then you can expect to be covered.
There are also two situations where homeowner’s insurance may cover damage caused by a fallen tree branch. Homeowner’s insurance might cover such damage if it occurred as part of a natural disaster, for example. Homeowner’s insurance can also cover damages caused by a fallen tree branch if the tree fell through the roof of your garage.
In most other situations, you’ll need to file a fallen tree branch claim through your comprehensive car insurance policy.