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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!

 

 

Not All Acts of God are Covered by Insurance

What is an Act of God?

 

In Heaven Daniel Pascoal via Compfight

 

I worked for Travelers Insurance as an outside property claims rep from 2005-2008. We had extensive training before we were ever assigned our first claim.  Two weeks learning how to read the policy, two weeks learning how to estimate damage and two more weeks learning the computer software used to complete the estimates!

At no point during that training did anyone discuss Acts of God.

Insurance policies are so technical.  They are a contract that you and your insurance company agree on.  The policy provides coverage for certain causes of damage and excludes coverage for certain causes of damage.  Everything is very clearly defined.  It’s your agents responsibility to explain any questions you have.

 

Having said that, let’s look at some causes of damage that could be perceived as an Act of God and if they would be covered or not.  

 

Common Acts of God -Homeowners Policy

  • Hurricanes.

Hurricanes are typically covered as the real cause of damage is due to extremely high winds and heavy rain.  The tricky part of determining coverage with a hurricane comes when there is mass flooding, like we saw from Katrina.  What happened first, the house was demolished by wind or a flood?

WATCH OUT!!  Some insurance carriers have special Hurricane Deductibles that could cost you tons!

  • Flood.

A Homeowners policy excludes damage caused by ground water.  So if your house has damage due to a flood, your Homeowners policy will NOT cover it.  A Flood policy will cover it as long as the flood meets certain criteria (the flooding must encompass at least a certain amount of area before it is classified as a flood).

  • Tornados.

Covered.  Basically it’s wind damage.

  • Tsunami.

No coverage on a Homeowners policy, potential coverage on a Flood policy.

  • Earthquake.

No coverage on a basic Homeowners policy BUT you can buy a separate Earthquake Insurance policy.

  • Fallen Trees

Most likely the tree fell as a result of wind or weight of snow or ice.  There is coverage as long as there is damage to your house.  If a tree lands on your grass but doesn’t cause any damage than you are on your own.  See this post for more information about trees.  There may even be coverage to replace the tree depending on the reason it fell.

  • Hail.

Covered.  Be wary of fly-by-night contractors trying to scam you into getting a new roof or siding.  Always discuss damage to your house with your agent first.

 

Basically, water from the sky is covered and water on the ground is not covered.  Wind is covered but Earth Movement (including landslides and sinkholes) are not covered.  In some cases you can add endorsements or buy separate policies that will provide coverage.  Ask your agent if you are concerned about something in particular.

 

Auto Claims caused by Acts of God.

 

Provided you have comprehensive coverage, most if not all Acts of God would be covered.  Fallen trees, earthquakes, flooding, hailstorm.  All of these would be covered by your carrier provided you have selected Comprehensive coverage.  Read this post for more information on when to delete Collision and Comprehensive coverage.

Please keep in mind, some policies may be different.  You should ask your agent to verify everything I mentioned in this post.

 

Will Your Rates Increase because of a Claim?

 

Homeowners Policy

Most major storms are considered Catastrophic storms.  If you have a claim because of one of these storms than you have a CAT loss (claim).  Most companies will not surcharge your policy due to a CAT loss.

If you shop your policy after a CAT loss than you may find the quotes are higher than they would have been if you didn’t have the CAT loss.  Depending on your insurance company you may lose your Loss Free Discount, a discount on your policy you get for not having any recent claims.

 

Auto Policy

Comprehensive coverage is also referred to as “Other Than Collision Coverage”.  Any damage to your automobile caused by something other than an accident.  Comprehensive claims should not affect your rate when the policy renews but could affect any quotes you get if you were to shop your policy.

 

What experiences have you had with damage caused by Acts of God?

 

My name is Keith Laskey. I write about insurance, youth development and healthy living. Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830, for any insurance related questions or concerns.  You can also visit the Ron Black Agency website.  Make Today a Great Day!

 

 

 

 

 

Comprehensive Deductible on an Auto Insurance Policy

Comprehensive coverage on an auto insurance policy covers your vehicle in the event of a certain type of loss.  Comp coverage is also known as Other Than Collision Coverage.

The three most common types of Comprehensive claims are.

Thank you newsday.com for the photo

Thank you newsday.com for the photo

  1. You hit a deer.  (Or a deer hits you)
  2. Someone vandalizes or steals your vehicle.
  3. A rock hits your windshied.

 

I was discussing a comp claim with a friend of mine recently.  He is claim rep for Geico and handles claims in and around Philadelphia.  He had just finished up working on a claim for a 20 something year old girl who had all four of the tires from her 2008 Civic stolen from her car.  The car just sat there on the ground, no blocks.  Just a pathetic looking car.

 

The damage to the vehicle—$4,100!

Her comprehensive deductible—–$2,500!!!

 

That deductible is outrageous.  Absolutely insane!!

 

I did a quote to my policy to see what the difference in price would be if I went to a higher comp deductible.  Right now I have a $100 comp deductible on both cars on our policy.  Travelers doesn’t even offer a $2,500 comp deductible!  The highest they will go is $1,000.

I would save $100 per six months if I increased my deductible on both cars to $1,000.  That’s a decent savings.  But what happens if a truck kicks up a rock and cracks your windshield?

Now you’re out $1,000.  It doesn’t seem worth it to me to carry a higher comprehensive deductible.

I recommend a $100 comp deductible.  If you work at a body shop or have some sort of connection somewhere than maybe you want to increase it to $250.  But the savings just aren’t there to go much higher than that.

 

I recommend that you take a look at your auto policy to make sure that you are happy with your coverages.  Especially if you have a policy with a company like Geico or another on-line carrier.  Computers are not like people.  They do not care if you are properly insured.  You should consider your insurance agent a friend.  And a good friend will always do what’s best for you.

If you are concerned with your coverage limits take a look at this post for a good starting place.

 

As always, feel free to call me with any questions you have.

-Keith Laskey-

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