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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!

 

 

Local Woman’s Car is Crushed by Fallen Tree. Who Pays?

Marshmallow man

 

Imagine you are sitting at a red light waiting patiently for the light to turn green.  Maybe fiddling with the radio, probably messing with your phone.  Definitely NOT playing Pokemon!!

BOOM!!!!!  A tree crashes onto your car and destroys your windshield.

 

SB_2012_002 6 x 9 = 42 via Compfight

 

Who Pays?

This happened to an unlucky local driver earlier this week.  The tree fell due to an error by the homeowner as he was cutting the tree down.  The tree was supposed to go one way but instead went another.  Luckily no one was injured.

In this case the homeowners liability coverage on his Homeowners Policy will provide coverage for the accident.  There is no deductible involved by either party.  Just a payment to be made by the Homeowners insurance carrier.  The driver does have the option of going through her Auto policy.  This would be a comprehensive claim.  Her auto insurance carrier would then subrogate against the Homeowners insurance carrier for reimbursement.

 

What if the Homeowners did not have Insurance?

This is very uncommon.  Most homeowners have insurance.  But if this was the case then the auto driver would need to go through their auto insurance.  As a reminder, keep your comprehensive deductible low!  Comp coverage is very inexpensive, there is no need to have a high deductible.

I recommend $100.  Some companies, like Travelers, are now offering special $50 Glass deductibles in the event that a stone (or tree) hits your windshield and cracks it.  Also, as long as you have comprehensive coverage, there is no deductible if the windshield crack can be repaired.

 

What if the tree fell on the car due to wind?

The only reason the Homeowners liability coverage would pay for this claim is because the homeowner was at fault for the tree falling.  Had the tree fallen due to high winds than the driver would NOT be able to go through the homeowner’s policy.  She would need to go through her auto policy.

This is why it’s important to keep comprehensive coverage on your car even if you remove collision.  Again, it’s inexpensive and it provides coverage for vandalism, damage caused by animals as well as damage due to fallen trees.

Also on trees, if your neighbor’s tree falls on your house, your Homeowners policy will pay for the damage.  If your tree falls on your neighbor’s house, their policy will pay for the damages.  The only way around this is if you see their tree is dead and at risk of falling and you send them a certified letter expressing your concern.

If you can prove that they are negligent (with proof of a certified letter) it’s possible their Homeowners liability coverage would pay for damages to your house as a result of a dead fallen tree.

You can read more about trees on this post.

 

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!

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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What to do When A Tree Falls on Your House

We have had some wicked storms in the northeast the last few years which has brought some of the heaviest winds I have heard.  And each year, before a big storm, people call in and ask how their Homeowners Policy covers damage caused by fallen trees.  So, per your request, please use this as a guide to answer those questions.

 

wracked_house_01

Photo credit to izismile.com

 

 

Of course, each policy is different so you still may want to send your agent a quick email or call them on the phone to double check.  But generally speaking, what I have seen is the companies offer basically the same coverage.

 

Is there automatic coverage to remove a fallen tree?

 

No.

 

In order for coverage to kick in there must be 1 of two things (could be both)

  1. The tree causes damage to your house.
  2. The tree doesn’t cause damage but does land on a walkway, driveway, other structure or your house.

 

Most companies will pay to remove a tree from your walkway, driveway house or other structure regardless of if there is damage.  Travelers Insurance, for example, will pay whatever it takes to remove the tree from the structure and place it on the ground.  From there, they will pay up to $500 to remove the tree from your property.

 

The insurance companies will pay for whatever exterior and interior damage that occurred as a result of the fallen tree.

 

Is there coverage for the tree?

 

It depends on the cause of damage.  Typically the companies will pay, up to a set limit, for the replacement of trees or shrubs as a result of lightning, vandalism or theft but will not pay to replace a tree damaged by wind or water.  You would need to pay your deductible if there is coverage.

 

What if your tree falls onto your neighbor’s house?

 

If your tree falls onto your neighbor’s house then that neighbor should contact their insurance company.  Your insurance company WILL NOT pay for damage to your neighbor’s property.  Your contract with your insurance company covers only your property.  Your insurance company will cover the property you own, not your neighbor’s.

It doesn’t mean you can’t help them with their deductible if you want to be a good neighbor!  But you are certainly not obligated to do so.

Same thing, if your neighbor’s tree falls onto your property then you must submit a claim through your insurance company.

The only way that you (or your neighbor) could possibly be liable is if their has been a discussion about a dead tree and a request to cut down that tree.  Of course, you better have those discussions documented.

 

Have you ever had a tree cause damage to your house?  Comment below if you have.

 

 

 

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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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