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Homeowner's Insurance - Tree fallen on house

Whose Home or Auto Insurance Pays when the Wind Knocks a Tree onto my Car/House?

    3 minute read

    Homeowner's Insurance - Tree fallen on houseWhose Fault is it?

    Sunday night near Cerritos, CA the wind was blowing at approximately 30 mph. Thirty. Miles per hour. That’s as fast as a car driving down a street. If you’ve had the “pleasure” of walking outside during a windy evening, you know what it feels like having your hair whip your face or small debris blowing into your eyes even as you shield them. Now, imagine this same 30 mph wind blowing consistently and terribly enough to knock over your neighbor’s 30 foot tree, right on top of your car or house. Imagine the damage that just happened. Your fairly new Toyota Rav4 not only got its first scratch, it also received a hole in the roof and passenger door so damaged that it’s dangling by a single hinge. Besides not being able to drive to work this week, you’ve got other problems on your hands now. Who is responsible for paying the cost of repairs or replacement? Do you go confront your neighbor or make a claim with your own insurance company?

    If it falls on your car, it’s an Auto Insurance claim covered under comprehensive. If it’s home damage, it’s a Home Insurance claim, though some things are taken into consideration. Why is your neighbor not responsible for the damage if it was his tree? The reason for this is that it is not your neighbor’s negligence that caused the tree to fall, the falling is considered by the insurance companies as “an act of God.” Just as your neighbor would have to file a claim with his or her own Homeowner’s Insurance carrier if a tree from your yard was blown onto his/her property and damaged the car or house.

    Auto Insurance - Tree fallen on truckAuto Insurance to Cover Your Damaged Car

    Your Car Insurance will cover this loss up to the amount of your Comprehensive Coverage, that is if your do in fact have this coverage on your Auto insurance policy. It is covered under comprehensive because the tree hit you, you did not collide with the tree in an accident. If you have deductibles to pay, you’ll need to pay this amount out-of-pocket before the insurance company will jump in and pay. However, if you had told your neighbor in the past that you were concerned about this tree possibly falling over and cause damages to your property, your Auto Insurance carrier may try to get your neighbor’s Homeowner’s Insurance to pay for the claim including your deductible.

    Homeowner's Insurance - Tree fallen on houseHomeowner’s Insurance to Cover Property Damage

    Damage to your house or other structure on your property would be covered under Homeowner’s Insurance because your insurance is primary in this case. It was a natural occurrence and there was no negligence on the part of your neighbor. The tree was healthy, the windstorm was just too strong for the tree roots to stay grounded. The rule is that if your neighbor knew or should have known about how unsafe the tree was, he would be responsible. So, if it’s your property, you are responsible for it unless you are able to provide proof that it was somehow your neighbor’s fault.

    Talk to an AIS Insurance Specialist to be Confirm your Coverage

    Of course, every claim is different and a solution cannot be determined by a textbook answer. You can call an AIS Insurance Specialist to review your current Homeowner’s Insurance or Auto Insurance policy or make sure that you have the right coverage to get through this El Nino winter. Don’t let this happen to you without knowing if you’re covered for any damages that windstorms or other “acts of God” can cause to your car or home.