Tree Falls on Car – What To Do & Who To Call For Liability?

Cases of a tree branch falling on your car are pretty common especially after a rainstorm.

When they do, quite some damage may result. These include utility interruption, vehicular damage, home damage, physical injuries, landscape effects, and even death.

These are primarily common with trees located around residential and densely populated areas.

When Trees Fall on Cars

If, during a storm, a tree falls on your vehicle, what or who could be responsible?

In other words, what causes these trees to topple, and how can it be stopped? Who’s liable for damage caused? These and more questions are often asked when trees fall.

In this article, we’re more concerned with trees falling on cars. As you read through the article, you’ll find answers relating to the reasons, liability, and more.

Why Trees Fall

To better tackle this topic, let’s begin by taking a look at the reasons why trees fall.

Trees could topple over for different reasons, including construction, adverse weather conditions, and root problems. Lots of trees have suddenly fallen due to these and other conditions.

Let’s discuss the points mentioned.

  • Construction

Construction activity around a tree or group of trees can negatively impact their stability.

During construction, contractors are sometimes oblivious to the extent of damage caused to trees around the area. There’s also compaction of the soil, which makes it difficult for the root systems of these trees to develop properly.

Such trees might not fall immediately but might later give way under strong winds or heavy storms. Unfortunately, buildings, power lines, and cars might be affected when falling.

  • Adverse Weather Conditions

Adverse weather conditions are among the primary causes of falling trees.

Here, different conditions with varying severity may play out. These include excessive monsoon-type rains, tsunamis, cyclones, hurricanes, lightning, are likely to uproot trees.

Here, it doesn’t matter how strong a tree is. It might not be able to withstand the forces of nature.

  • Root Problems

The root systems of younger trees may not be fully developed before adverse weather conditions strike. Such trees are easily affected as they aren’t well anchored to the ground.

Also, too much moisture in the ground cause the roots of larger trees to rot. This weakens them and causes them to fall.

What to Do if a Tree Falls on Your Car

So far, our discussion on falling trees has been necessary to properly understand the implications of a tree falling on cars. Here, we’re referring to legal and insurance-related implications.

Here, different scenarios may play out. Such may include a tree falling while the car is parked and while the vehicle is in motion.

There’s also a possibility of a tree falling on your home’s roof and car. So, who’s responsible for the damage, and what insurance coverage better suits your situation?

You’ll have to read along to find all the answers you seek.

  • Do you have a Comprehensive Auto Insurance Coverage?

The type of insurance coverage you have matters a lot. Persons having only liability coverage on their auto insurance policy don’t usually get considered for accidents like trees falling on their cars.

However, if your auto insurance policy comes with comprehensive coverage, you’re qualified for coverage.

While that’s true, your deductible isn’t included. The comprehensive coverage includes damages caused by falling trees and branches, among others.

If you’re unsure about what you signed up for, consider speaking with your insurance agent for further clarifications.

  • When Your Neighbor’s Tree Falls on your Car

While a comprehensive insurance coverage means insurance will cover damages except for the auto deductible for tree accidents within your yard, other circumstances may involve your neighbor’s tree.

In this case, who’s responsible for covering the damage?

There are grounds for asking your neighbor to be responsible for paying for the damage. However, this will be required to present clear proof of negligence on the part of your neighbor.

While this sounds like a great option, being able to prove such negligence isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Unless you’ve asked your neighbor based on recommendation professional recommendation from a specialist to remove the tree and they refused to act, then you have a strong case. Also, a dead tree or one rotting and belonging to a neighbor might provide you with the proof you need.

With that, you can compel the neighbor to cover your damage. However, when such proof isn’t as compelling, you may have to take responsibility for the damage caused.

  • You Might Need A Tree Removal Company

Again, there are situations where you or your neighbor may call for professional tree removal. Now tree removal jobs may not always go as planned.

This could result in accidents where trees may fall on cars. That is why tree removal companies have insurance cover or plan to take care of such problems.

Under such circumstances, the responsibility of fixing your damaged car is taken up or covered by the company’s insurance.

Sometimes, this may not be automatic as underlying situations make this type of coverage difficult.

Tree Falling on Moving Car

Accidents could happen at unexpected times. One of such might be when you’re driving your car.

Going through this ordeal is scary enough. If you’re lucky to come out unharmed, fixing the car becomes the next step to take. There are two scenarios here.

For trees that hit your car while driving, you will activate your comprehensive coverage to fix the damage. On the other hand, if you hit an already-fallen tree while driving, you’ll need collision coverage to have it fixed.

Adopting Preventive Measures will Prove Beneficial.

It’s hard to suspect a tree will fall on your car.

This happens when you least expect it. While the possibility of this happening is pretty slim, you can still abide by basic preventive actions to keep that from happening.

Scan your yard or surroundings for any dead or dying trees and have them removed.

You can reach out to your neighbor or the city if there’s a hazardous tree on their property. Prioritize parking your car in a garage or parking lot as these tend to be safer.

Low hanging tree branches will need to be cut off. What more? You’re better off parking your car directly under the tree.

Trees falling on cars aren’t new and happen for several reasons. When such happens, your vehicle is either damaged beyond repair or partially damaged and needs fixing.

Responsibility for such repairs has been discussed, in addition to taking preventive actions.

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