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The Royersford Insurance Agent

Does Insurance pay for a Tree that is hit by a Car?

I received a phone call from a woman earlier today.  She was a little distraught because she was getting a bill from her apartment complex for a tree that she hit with her car.  She is a slightly older woman, 87, and lives in an independent living center.

She had already had her car repaired which cost $1,700.  Now she was getting an unexpected bill for the tree as well.

Honestly, this was the first time I have been asked about a bill for a tree.  I’m sure we have had accidents in the past that involved trees but maybe our clients never asked us about it.  I had no idea as to whether or not the tree would be covered or not.

There is also a concern about whether or not it was a smart idea to file a claim.  She has a $500 deductible which means the insurance company would pay out $1200.  But our client would now have one accident on her record.  With 2 accidents on record, most insurance companies have the right to non-renew (or cancel) a policy.  With Winter weather just around the corner and accidents more common, not filing a claim was something we had to consider.

Our client then mentioned that she was going to be selling the car to her granddaughter.  Well that settled it.  She was going to be cancelling the policy anyway!  This was now a no-brainer.  File the claim.  Our client can expect to be refunded $1200 as she would only be responsible for her $500 deductible.

 

Retour d'hiver Jean-Marc Linder via Compfight

 

What about the tree?

I called a claim rep at the insurance company and asked about the tree.  Could the cost of the tree be covered under the Property Damage coverage?  I was told that yes, the tree would be covered under her Property Damage coverage.  We had nothing to worry about.

 

What is Property Damage Coverage?

Property Damage coverage is a coverage on your Auto policy that pays for damage to other people’s property that’s damaged by an accident you cause.  Cars, telephone poles, signs, and buildings are the most common.

This coverage could also extend to trees and bushes.

 

What if the tree had fallen onto the car?

This is an entirely different issue.  Your comprehensive coverage would pay for this damage.  I have written extensively about trees and comprehensive coverage on this site.  Please feel free to view any of those prior posts for more information.

 

As always, please reach out to me if I can help you with any insurance related question.  

 

My name is Keith Laskey. My goal is to educate the everyday consumer and to help them make intelligent decisions with their insurance policies. Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830 or Email Me for any insurance related questions or concerns. You can also visit the Ron Black Agency website or like us on Facebook! Thank you for stopping by, have a great day!

 

 

What to Do if You’re Rear-Ended

 

A Rear End Collision is one of the most common types of auto accidents.  Whether the reason is because they are fiddling with the satellite radio or texting, people are very distracted these days.  So, when it happens to you, how should you handle it?

 

rear ended

Decide if You Should Call the Police

Depending on the situation, you may wish to call the police first.  This is never a bad idea.  Trust your instincts.  If you have an uncomfortable feeling about the driver or situation, call the police.  Find a safe area to wait until they arrive.  Are there witnesses?  Ask them to wait with you.

The police will gather all the information about both drivers and will give you an incident report.  That report will have all the information you need to give to your insurance carrier as well as their carrier.

 

What you should do if you don’t call the Police

If you decide not to call the police then you will need to gather some information that will help with the claim handling process.  Here is what you need.

  • Their Insurance Information.  Their Insurance carrier and policy number.  The ID card will have all of this information.
  • Their Personal Information.  Name, address, and phone number.
  • Their Vehicle Information.  Year, make and model.  Bonus points if you can get the VIN on the car!

Take photos of everything.  The cars, the scene of the accident, their ID card (if possible).

 

Contact your agent before calling a claim in.

We always recommend calling our agency before calling a claim in to the carrier.  We can help you decide if it’s best to go through their carrier or your carrier.  Sometimes it is actually best to go through your carrier even though you were rear-ended.  The reason for this is that generally speaking you insurance carrier will provide better and quicker service to you.  You would need to pay your deductible if you choose to do this.

If you go through your carrier, they will then go after the other driver’s insurance carrier and will work to get them to accept liability and have your deductible returned to you.  Regardless of which insurance carrier you report the claim to, you must be prepared to to talk about the accident.  You will need to give your report on what happened to both your insurance company as well as their insurance company.

 

How a Not-At-Fault accident affects your Rates

You should not see a rate increase on your renewal due to a not-at-fault accident.  If you shop your policy with another carrier, however, you may see that the rate is higher due to the accident.  It will not be much higher but a not-at-fault accident could affect future quotes.

 

Do you need to go through Insurance?

No, not at all.  The other driver could pay out of pocket to cover the damages.  Make sure you get all of their information mentioned above just in case you change your mind later.  Take your car to YOUR mechanic and have them give you an estimate.  Call the other driver to discuss the cost of repairs.  Make sure the other driver knows that additional damage could be discovered while the car is in the shop.

One thing to consider!  Do you need a rental vehicle while your car is in the shop?  Without insurance, most likely you won’t have access to one.  Check your policy today to make sure that you have Extended Transportation coverage in the event of a claim.

 

Have you ever been rear-ended?

 

My name is Keith Laskey.  I write about insurance, youth development and adult success.  Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830,  for any insurance related questions or concerns.  

Protecting Your Family and Home from Fall Weather

 

 

High Winds, heavy rains, leaves, leaves and more leaves.  All of these things can cause some serious damage to your home and property.

 

For the most part, however, damage to your house because of these conditions can be prevented.

 

Here are a few of the most common causes of damage during the Autumn season and how you can prevent them from occurring.

 

 

  • High Wind and Heavy Rain.

It was right about this time in 2012 that we all started looking at the radar planning for a Superstorm named Sandy.   Hurricane season will not end until November 30th so the potential for high winds is not going away anytime soon.

Wind can cause enough damage on it’s own.  But the real trouble emerges when you add heavy soaking rain to the high winds.  The wind can very easily rip shingles off of a roof and even siding off of a house exposing the home to rain.  When this happens you can expect a significant amount of interior water damage.

 

How to Prevent the Damage

 

  1. Prepare.  Get a tarp in case your siding blows off.  If the siding blows off, hang the tarp up to prevent rain from getting in.
  2. Gather a few numbers for local roofers and emergency service providers. Don’t go up on your roof if it is still raining! Allow a professional to do it for you.  If you are person that thinks they can do anything then….
  3. Get Life Insurance.  Your family very well may need it.

 

  • Fallen Trees.

Trees fall at all times of the year but especially when the ground becomes saturated and the winds become heavier.  We seem to see more in the season of Fall than any other.  Fallen trees can cause an unbelievable amount of damage in some cases going right through your house and landing in your living room or on your car.

 

wracked_house_01

 

How to Prevent the Damage

If you see a dead tree near your house or another structure located on your property, get it cut down.  As soon as possible.  Eventually that dead tree will drop and if it’s near your house, there is a good chance it’s going to land where you don’t want it to.

If your neighbor has a dead tree located on his property but is close to your house, ask them to cut it down.  If they refuse, send a certified letter to them with a formal request.  Document everything.  When his tree does fall on your house, that documentation will help your insurance carrier prove they were negligent.  If you cannot prove your neighbor’s negligence than the damage sustained to your house due to your neighbor’s tree will all be on you and your carrier.

 

  • Leaves and Debris clogging gutters and downspouts.

About 2 months after we moved in to our house we had a crazy Fall rainstorm.  Rain was literally pouring out of our gutters, onto the ground and straight into a window well of our basement.  Water was pouring down the back wall of our basement.  We didn’t know what the heck was going on!!!

Once the storm passed we went outside and discovered that our gutter was clogged.  I took about four or five hand fulls of leaves and debris from the gutter and there has not been a problem since.

Luckily for us, this happened in the back section of our basement which is unfinished and very easy to clean.  Had it happened in the front section of the house we would have had some serious damage.

 

How to Prevent the Damage

  • Check your gutters often to make sure they are not clogged.
  • Install a glass block window to completely seal out the elements from getting in.

 

I hope this information helps you. Have you ever had a Fall weather related claim?  Leave a comment below with your experiences.

 

 

My name is Keith Laskey. My goal is to educate the everyday consumer and to help them make intelligent decisions with their insurance policies. Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830 or Email Me for any insurance related questions or concerns. You can also visit the Ron Black Agency website or like us on Facebook! Thank you for stopping by, have a great day!

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Four Common Denied Homeowners Insurance Claims

If you have the right Homeowners Insurance policy, you will find that most claims are going to be paid. Especially the newer updated policies. Claim reps are taught to pay claims. When I was a claim rep at Travelers, Rule number one was “We are here to find coverage”.20130904-164644.jpg

We weren’t claim reps. We were coverage finders! Unfortunately sometimes coverage is just not there and a claim must be denied.

 

Now that I’m an agent my job is to find coverage BEFORE you have a claim.

There are many reasons that a claim will be denied. Most of the causes of a denial will never happen. For example did you know there is no coverage on the policy for damage caused by a landslide? Although we have seen several landslides lately they are still very rare.

 

 

I found the four most common exclusions and listed them below.

 

  • Wear and Tear

It’s an insurance policy, not a maintenance policy. Say you have a 20-year roof that is 25 years old. You start to notice shingles that have cracked and are falling on your lawn. The policy will not cover your roof. Same idea with siding that’s falling apart or an old carpet. The policy covers sudden and accidental occurrences, not materials that are deteriorating. Call your agent to make sure your policy will cover any ensuing water damage that occurs as a result of your old roof or siding.

  • Settling and Cracking of pavements, foundations, walls, etc.

My house was built in the Seventies. Guess what is happening to some of the interior walls? Cracking! On some older houses you can see cracks on the exterior brick or stucco. The policy will not provide coverage for this type of damage. It’s basically the same idea as the Wear and Tear exclusion.

  • Animals

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    That cat is so Guilty of causing damage!

The policy does not cover damage caused by Birds, vermin, rodents, insects. In addition, there is no coverage for damage caused by animals owned by the Insured (YOU). So if you have termites that cause damage to the wood in your attic, it’s on you. If your cat goes to the bathroom and destroys your carpet-on you. Bats? Good luck. Make frequent checks to make sure there are no insects around. Don’t ignore bizarre unexplained sounds in your attic.

  • Surface Water that enters your house

This is not water that enters your house through the roof or walls or even a window. You should be OK in those cases. This is water that enters at ground level or in your basement. There is an endorsement that will provide coverage for water that backs up from a sump pump or a drain. Call your agent TODAY to make sure you have that endorsement.

As far as I know you will not be able to find an endorsement that provides coverage for surface water. Landscapers can often build up the area around your house so water is re-directed away from your exterior walls. Also, always check that your downspouts and gutters are functioning properly.

 

I don’t know everything about insurance. So ask your agent to verify everything I just wrote. And I would still recommend that you discuss a potential claim even if you do have damage caused by one of the things I mentioned. Remember, a claim rep’s job is to find coverage. But be smart and prepare your house and limit the possibilities of the above causes of damage.

 

 

-Keith Laskey-

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