With just a couple weeks before Hurricane Season ends, the possibility of being hit by a substantial storm still exists. Damage to the home is generally the first thought when facing inclement weather, but your car is just as much at risk. Fallen limbs or trees can do serious damage to your vehicle. Car insurance may help cover tree damage if you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy. Comprehensive coverage helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged or destroyed by falling objects, like a tree.

HOW DOES COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE WORK?

Comprehensive coverage helps cover damage to your vehicle that’s not caused by a collision such as losses caused by fire, theft, lightning, weather events, glass breakage, and falling objects. Comprehensive is optional coverage on your car insurance policy unless you are leasing or financing your vehicle. In that case, your lender may require you to purchase comprehensive coverage.

If you make a tree damage claim on your comprehensive coverage, you should be aware of your deductible and loss settlement possibilities, as they affect what you pay out of pocket.

The deductible is what you pay toward a covered claim. For example, let’s say when you purchased comprehensive coverage, you selected a $500 deductible. If it costs $3,000 to repair your car after it’s damaged by a fallen tree, you will pay your $500 deductible and your insurer would pay the remaining $2,500.

Your comprehensive coverage limit comes into play if your car is destroyed by a tree. If your vehicle is declared a total loss, your insurer will issue a loss settlement based upon the depreciated value (also called the “actual cash value”) of your vehicle. For example, say your totaled vehicle’s actual cash value is $20,000. Your comprehensive deductible is $500. Your insurer would send you a check for $19,500.

OTHER INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR TREE DAMAGE CLAIMS

It may be helpful to consider adding additional car insurance coverage to your policy to help you in case of a tree damage claim. Consider the following:

Rental reimbursement coverage is an optional coverage that helps pay for a rental car (up to the coverage limits) while your vehicle is being repaired for a covered claim.

New car replacement coverage helps pay for you to replace your totaled vehicle with a new car of the same (or similar) make and model. This coverage is important because an insurance check from comprehensive coverage alone may not be enough to replace a brand-new vehicle of the same make and model (remember, comprehensive coverage pays only up to a car’s depreciated value). New car replacement coverage may only be available if you’re the first owner of a vehicle.

You may also be wondering whether your homeowners’ insurance offers any coverage for fallen trees. If you’re the owner of both the fallen tree and the vehicle, your homeowners’ insurance policy likely won’t cover the damage to your car. If the tree that fell on your car belongs to a neighbor, in many cases, you would likely still rely on the comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy. But, your neighbor’s homeowners insurance policy may help cover the damage if it can be proven that the tree fell due to that person’s negligence.

If a tree falls on your car, repairs (or replacement) could set you back thousands of dollars. You may want to consider adding comprehensive coverage to your car insurance policy to help protect against this type of financial burden. Have questions? Give Sound Choice Insurance a call. We will be happy to help.