Does insurance cover tree falling on car?

12 minute read Published on Jun 6, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

Fallen tree on a damaged car

Want to know if car insurance covers a tree falling on your car? BrokerLink is here. Our team of car insurance specialists provides further insight into this important topic below. Keep reading to learn more about how you can protect yourself from hail damage, falling tree branches, fire, theft, and more with quality auto insurance.

Types of damage from fallen trees

You might think that vehicle damage from a fallen tree is pretty straightforward, but the reality is that there are several types of tree damage that a car can sustain. Plus, the circumstances of the damage matter, as they can affect what type of insurance claim to file and if you’re covered for the damage at all. A few of the most common types of damage from fallen trees are as follows:

You hit a fallen tree while driving on the road

Hitting a fallen tree on the road is not the same as a tree falling on your car. While you might be covered in both situations, the type of coverage that comes into play will likely be different. If you hit a tree that’s already on the road, your insurance company will likely treat it as a collision. Therefore, in this situation, you might need to have purchased an optional form of car insurance coverage known as collision coverage if you want to be protected. Without collision coverage, you may be on the hook for paying for the cost of damages on your own, as an insurance company will likely consider the accident avoidable.

A tree on your front lawn falls onto your car

The second type of tree damage your car might sustain is if a tree on your property falls onto your car. If this happens, you could be covered by your car insurance company if you have comprehensive coverage. You would just need to pay the deductible and your insurance policy would kick in to pay the rest.

A tree on your property falls on your neighbour’s car

If a tree on your property falls and hits a neighbour’s car, your insurer likely would not cover you. Your neighbour would have to report this claim to their insurance company. This will definitely be the case if you neglected the tree in your care or you knew the tree was a hazard and you refused to do anything about it.

A neighbour’s tree falls on your car

If a tree on your neighbour’s property, or one of its branches, falls onto your car and damages it, you could still be on the hook for the cost of repairs. That said, if you can prove that the neighbour knew the tree was hazardous or if you have a record of asking the neighbour to remove the tree in the past, their home insurance company might be responsible for covering the cost of repairs. However, it is important to document the incident and file a claim with your insurance company, even if they are not the ones who will pay for the damages.

A city-owned tree falls on your car

One last tree damage scenario is if a city-owned tree falls on your car. If this happens, it is recommended that you call your local governing authority as soon as possible. They will need to hire someone to remove the tree. If there is proof that the municipality knew that the tree was a hazard, they may be on the hook for the damages.

Comprehensive coverage and tree damage

When it comes to falling tree damage and cars, comprehensive coverage is usually the type of car insurance coverage that is most relevant. Why? Comprehensive coverage is the only type of auto insurance coverage that is designed to protect cars from non-collision incidents. For example, if your car suffers weather damages, you might be able to file a claim under the comprehensive coverage portion of your policy. Comprehensive insurance may also provide coverage for hail and wind damage, fire, animal damage, theft, vandalism, and water damage, in addition to tree damage. For more information on comprehensive coverage, keep reading.

Is comprehensive coverage mandatory in Canada?

In most cases, comprehensive coverage is optional. Unlike third party liability coverage or accident benefits coverage, which are mandatory in most Canadian provinces and territories, comprehensive coverage is completely optional, just like collision or accident forgiveness coverage. One exception is if you lease or finance your vehicle. In this case, your lender or financing company might require you to purchase comprehensive car insurance coverage as a stipulation of your lease agreement.

How do deductibles and limits work for comprehensive coverage?

Anytime you file a comprehensive coverage claim with your car insurance company, whether your car was stolen or a tree fell on it and damaged it, any payout you receive will be subject to your policy deductible and coverage limit. Your policy deductible is the amount that you are required to pay toward an approved claim as the policyholder. You choose your deductible amount when you purchase your policy. Let’s say that you chose a $1,000 deductible for your comprehensive car insurance coverage. If the damage to your car costs $4,000 to repair, you would have to pay your $1,000 deductible before the insurance company steps in and pays the remaining $3,000. Policyholders will need to pay their deductible anytime they file and claim and it is approved.

Meanwhile, your comprehensive coverage limit likely won’t come into play unless your vehicle is completely destroyed. For example, if a full-size tree falls onto your car and totals it, you will need to pay close attention to your coverage limit. In such a scenario, assuming you have comprehensive coverage, your insurance company would help you pay to replace your totalled vehicle up to the coverage limit. Typically, the limit for comprehensive coverage is the actual cash value of your car. So if the actual cash value of your car was $30,000 and your deductible was $1,000, your insurance company would give you a payout of $29,000, which could be put toward a new car.

What risks does comprehensive coverage protect against?

Comprehensive coverage can protect against a wide variety of non-collision-related risks. These risks are known as perils. You will be covered for damage caused by any perils named in your policy. Some of the most popular comprehensive coverage perils include fire, theft, vandalism, falling or flying objects, riots and civil disturbances, explosions, and natural disasters and weather. Tree damage is usually covered by falling objects or weather perils, especially if the fallen tree was the result of a natural disaster or severe weather.

What is not covered by comprehensive coverage?

Comprehensive coverage does not cover the following circumstances. However, other coverages included in your car insurance policy might:

  • Damage to your car resulting from a collision
  • Medical expenses resulting from a collision
  • Damage to another driver’s car resulting from a collision
  • Medical expenses for another person resulting from a collision
  • Your car being stolen by a member of your household
  • Damage to your rental car from a collision

Should you add comprehensive coverage to your car insurance policy?

Many Canadian drivers struggle with the decision of whether to add comprehensive coverage to their car insurance policies. Although adding any kind of additional coverage to your policy is likely to increase your rates, there are plenty of benefits to doing so, especially when it comes to comprehensive coverage. By not adding comprehensive coverage to your policy, you are giving up a lot of protection. Depending on the extent of the damage, this could translate to a large sum of money that you are required to pay out of pocket. To help you determine whether comprehensive coverage is right for you, the BrokerLink team has outlined a few major considerations below:

Peace of mind

Many drivers claim that adding comprehensive coverage to their policies provides them with peace of mind because they know that if something happens to their car while parked, they will be protected. Consider how much this peace of mind matters to you. If you aren’t very risk-averse, you may not find this to be a significant benefit.

Your financial situation

Before purchasing any type of car insurance coverage, you will need to consider the cost. Adding comprehensive coverage will almost certainly increase your premium. However, not adding it could amount to even more money spent on repairs if an incident occurs. Therefore, you will need to assess your financial situation to determine if the added cost is affordable and worth it. A BrokerLink insurance advisor can also provide you with a free car insurance quote to give you a better idea of how much adding comprehensive coverage to your policy would raise your premium.

The value of your vehicle

If your vehicle is lower in value, additional coverage like comprehensive or collision coverage may not make sense.

Whether you own or lease your vehicle

If you own your vehicle outright, then you get to decide whether to buy comprehensive coverage. However, if you lease or finance your vehicle, then you might not have a say in the matter. It is common for many lenders and leasing companies to require borrowers to purchase comprehensive coverage for the duration of their contracts. So if your vehicle is leased or financed, be sure to read the terms of your agreement carefully. Failure to purchase comprehensive coverage could put you in breach of your contract.

Filing a comprehensive coverage insurance claim

If a tree falls on your car and you need to file a claim with your insurance provider, you might be wondering how to go about doing this. The good news is that filing a comprehensive insurance claim is very similar to filing any other type of car insurance claim. You will start by gathering evidence, such as taking photos or videos of the scene, with a focus on the damage done to your car. From there, you will contact your insurance company by phone, online, or in-person to initiate the claims process. Claims processes vary between insurance providers, but generally speaking, your insurance agent will guide you through the process. Once submitted, an insurance adjuster will be in touch to ask you a few questions about the incident. You will then have to wait until the adjuster finishes their investigation and the insurance company updates the status of your claim. If your claim is approved, you will receive a payout from your insurance company to cover the cost of the damages, less your deductible.

What to do if a tree falls on your car

Don’t wait. Jump into action as soon as you are aware of the incident. As with any type of car accident, we recommend collecting evidence by snapping photos of the scene from every angle. It can also be worthwhile to take note of any adverse weather conditions that may have led to the incident. If another person was involved in the accident, such as if the tree that fell was on your neighbour’s property or it fell due to the actions of a third party, like a tree removal service, get their insurance and contact information as well. You will need to provide this information when filing a claim. Next, contact your insurance company to begin the claims process. When contacting your insurance company, it’s a good idea to ask if there are any additional steps you can take to make the claims process more seamless.

Avoiding tree damage to your car

No one wants to deal with a tree falling on their car. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to limit the odds of such an incident occurring. The BrokerLink team has put together the following list of ways to avoid tree damage to your vehicle:

Park your car in the garage

The more sheltered your car, the better. If you have a garage, make sure to park your vehicle in it at all times, rather than leaving it in the driveway or on the street.

Do not park directly under a tree

If you can avoid it, do your best to park as far away from trees as possible. Try to judge how far the tree would reach if it were to fall and make sure your vehicle is out of its range.

Maintain your property by properly disposing of any rotting or dying trees

As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to maintain your home year-round. Part of that involves landscaping. If you notice that there is a tree on your property that is decaying, rotting, or dying, be proactive and call a tree removal company to have the tree removed as soon as possible.

Remove low-hanging branches or limbs

Take care and remove any low-hanging tree branches or limbs that may be susceptible to breaking off and falling onto your vehicle.

Speak with your neighbour about maintaining or removing any hazardous trees

You are within your rights to ask your neighbour to better maintain or even remove any trees or branches on their property if you notice any are hanging over your property - or could end up falling onto your property in the future. Document the details of any conversations you have with your neighbour’s about their trees so that you have a record of it if needed in the future.

Other types of optional car insurance coverage

As you can see, optional coverage like comprehensive insurance can be incredibly beneficial in a wide range of scenarios, including if a tree falls on your car. Two other types of optional car insurance coverage that Canadian drivers might find worthwhile are as follows:

Collision coverage

Collision coverage will come in handy if you get into an accident with a car or a grounded object, such as a tree that has fallen on the road, and your car is damaged as a result. Collision coverage can help pay for the cost of car repairs.

Accident forgiveness coverage

One final type of optional car insurance coverage popular among drivers is accident forgiveness. Accident forgiveness is additional coverage that can be added to your car insurance policy as an endorsement, to protect your driving record and to help prevent your insurance premium from increasing if you have an at-fault accident claim. Note: coverage varies by province.

Contact BrokerLink for more information on how car insurance can protect you against fallen trees

Knowing how car insurance works and what it protects against is crucial. Thankfully, BrokerLink will make sure that you understand exactly how you are protected. If a tree falls on your car or you hit a fallen tree on the road, contact BrokerLink for an expert opinion. One of our insurance experts will be pleased to explain what kind of coverage applies and how you can file a claim with your car insurance company. BrokerLink has licenced insurance brokers all across Canada, so whether you are looking for Toronto car insurance or Calgary car insurance, we can help. Get in touch today to get started.

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FAQs on insurance and trees falling on cars

What happens if a tree falls and hits my car and the roof of my home?

If a tree falls and damages both your car and the roof of your home, you would likely need to file two insurance claims: one with your auto insurance provider and one with your home insurance provider. If you have comprehensive coverage, this portion of your car insurance policy would likely cover any damage to your car. Meanwhile, your homeowner’s insurance coverage would likely cover the damage done to your roof. Note that in both cases, any payout you receive would be less your policy deductible.

What happens if a tree falls on my vehicle while I'm driving?

If your car is hit by a falling object, such as a tree or tree branch while on the road, your comprehensive car insurance coverage should protect you. That said, if you hit a tree that has already fallen, it is considered a grounded object, which means comprehensive coverage likely wouldn’t apply. The distinction here is that a tree falling on your vehicle while driving is considered an unavoidable accident, whereas hitting an already-fallen tree while driving is considered avoidable since it’s your job to be aware of any hazards or obstacles on the road. Thus, if you hit a tree that was already on the road, you may only be covered if you have collision coverage in your car insurance policy.

What is the difference between comprehensive coverage and full auto coverage?

Comprehensive coverage is a specific type of optional car insurance coverage, whereas full auto coverage is a name given to policies that include all types of physical damage coverage. Full auto policies usually feature comprehensive coverage, in addition to collision coverage and other optional coverages, such as accident forgiveness.

Does comprehensive coverage protect you if someone else is driving your car?

In most cases, yes. Car insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. Assuming you gave this other driver permission to use your vehicle, they are not excluded from your policy, and they were not committing a crime at the time of the accident, the comprehensive coverage portion of your policy can still protect you even if the incident occurred while another driver was behind the wheel.

Does comprehensive insurance cover windshield replacement?

Comprehensive coverage may cover windshield replacement depending on the circumstances surrounding the damage.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.