Depending on the coverage in your policy, car insurance will cover damage that happens to your car when you are and aren’t driving. If a tree on your property falls on your car, then comprehensive coverage would cover the damage. Comprehensive coverage is typically optional, and covers damage to your car that’s not caused by a collision, like fire, hail, and vandalism (and yes, falling objects).
But comprehensive coverage only covers damage that occurs suddenly and accidentally. Damage that happens over time would not be covered, so a tree that was gradually rotting and eventually fell would not be covered because, if treated, the damage would’ve been preventable.
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Am I covered if a tree falls on my car?
You’re typically covered for tree damage if the tree falls under no control of your own. Some of those instances may include:
If a tree on your property falls on your car
Yes, your comprehensive coverage will pay for tree damage if a tree or tree branch from your yard falls on your car. If a thunderstorm causes a branch on your tree to fall, damaging the hood of your car and your windshield, comprehensive coverage will pay to repair your car — or even replace your car, if it’s totaled.
If your neighbor’s tree falls on your car
Yes, if your neighbor’s tree falls onto your car, you would file a claim with your auto insurance and your comprehensive coverage will pay for repairs. Save proof of any interactions you have with your neighbor about a rotting tree, though — if you can prove that you’ve tried to fix the problem tree and your neighbor ignored it, then you may be able to put the tree removal on their homeowners insurance by filing a third-party claim.
If a natural disaster causes a tree to fall
Yes, comprehensive coverage covers floods and earthquakes, so if a natural disaster damages or destroys your vehicle, including knocking a heavy tree branch onto the roof of your car, then repairs would be covered.
If you hit a tree and a branch falls
If you accidentally drive into a tree, and a branch falls onto your car or the force of the accident totals your car, then collision coverage would cover the damage. The same goes for if you hit a fallen tree — collision coverage would cover the costs to repair your car up to its actual cash value.
How does comprehensive coverage work for tree damage?
Comprehensive covers damage to your car that’s not from a collision, like theft, vandalism, hail damage, and, yes, tree damage. It’s typically an optional coverage, but if you’re financing or leasing your car, you may be required to have it.
When you file a claim for tree damage, you’ll have to pay a deductible in order for your comprehensive coverage to kick in. A deductible is an amount of money you agree to pay (per claim) before your insurance will cover the rest.
Say it costs $2,500 to repair your car after a tree fell on it, and your deductible is $1,000 — your insurance company would write you a check for $1,500 and you would be responsible for paying the remaining $1,000 in damages, typically straight to the repair shop that fixes your car.
If your car is completely destroyed by a tree, your insurer will help you buy a new one up to your car’s actual cash value. For example, if your car is worth $15,000 after depreciation, and it's totaled by a fallen tree, then your insurer will send you a check of $14,000, which is the actual cash value of your car minus your deductible amount.
Other car insurance for tree damage claims
Comprehensive and collision coverage are both optional, but you can also add additional coverages to your policy that might come in handy if your car is smashed in by an uprooted tree.
Rental reimbursement coverage: Helps you pay for transportation expenses, like a rental car or public transportation fare, while your vehicle is being repaired for a covered claim.
New car replacement coverage: Helps you pay to replace your totaled vehicle with a new car of a similar make and model. (Your comprehensive coverage will only pay up to your car’s depreciated value, but new car replacement coverage will replace it with a brand new vehicle.)
Does car insurance cover tree removal?
If a tree falls on your car, you’ll probably need to pay out of pocket to have it immediately removed. But if a neighbor's tree falls on your car, and you can prove that you’ve asked your neighbor to address it before it fell, then their homeowners insurance would be responsible for paying for the removal. You would still need to file a claim to cover the tree damage, and pay for the tree removal, but their liability coverage would reimburse you for the removal.
When doesn’t car insurance cover fallen trees?
There is one notable instance where car insurance won’t cover damage from a fallen tree, and that’s if the tree was on your property and it was dead or diseased.
As we’ve mentioned above, comprehensive coverage won’t cover tree damage if the tree was old or rotted at the time it fell. Car insurance is meant to cover unexpected damage to you and your car, so a tree that was already threatening to fall would not be covered, especially if you could have solved the issue by taking care of the diseased tree earlier.
If a tree on your neighbor’s property was diseased and you can prove that your neighbor knew about it (with some sort of documentation), then their homeowners insurance would cover the damage.