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Falling Objects Damaged My Car - What Should I Do Know?

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If A Tree Fell On Your Car & You're Unsure of What to Do...

Accidents happen all the time. When it comes to vehicular accidents, you can usually pin the blame on either you or another driver. However, nature can be one of the greatest destructive forces and cause immense damage to vehicles. For instance, a strong storm can cause a tree to fall on a car, and subsequent repairs can cost thousands of dollars.

Numerous other natural occurrences can damage your car, including hail, flooding and even fallen meteorites. If a natural event damages your car, your first thought might be to call your car insurance company. However, that may not be an option for you if you do not have the right protective policy. Even if you do have the right coverage, filing a claim still might not be to your benefit.

Natural disasters and other events outside of your control are not covered by basic car insurance plans. The purpose of car insurance is to protect you and other drivers on the road in the case of an accident. Unfortunately, nature’s wrath often does not fall into this category.

Nonetheless, you do have options if a tree fell on your car or a strong storm causes debris to severely scratch your vehicle. Read below to find out what your insurance will and will not cover, who is responsible for the damage, and how much repairs might cost.

Scenarios That Could Cause Vehicular Damage

A variety of different scenarios can cause damage to your car that are not the fault of you or another driver. For instance, a tornado, hurricane, or severe thunderstorm can cause unexpected windstorm damage, such as dents and broken windows. Here are some other events beyond your control that can damage your vehicle:

  • Fire

  • Vandalism

  • Fallen objects

  • Riots

  • Flooding

  • Animals

Essentially, these kinds of incidents are considered “an act of God” and are beyond your control. Your car insurer will determine if this is the case if you submit a claim.

Who is Responsible for the Damage to my Car?

If a tree falls on a car, who is responsible for the damage? Unfortunately, you cannot make a claim with Mother Nature about damage to your vehicle.

If you have no car insurance at all, you will be 100 percent responsible for repairing the damages. However, if you do have car insurance, you may be able to file a claim to receive some assistance covering your expenses.

There are cases in which the situation is more complex, such as if a tree falls on a car at an apartment complex or a neighbor’s tree damages your vehicle. Generally, you must contact your car insurance company, no matter how much you want your neighbor or landlord to be at fault. In this case, if a tree fell on a car, insurance companies will handle the claim and determine who is responsible.

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Will My Insurance Cover the Cost of Vehicle Damage?

If a tree falls on a car, your insurance is unlikely to cover the cost of the damage if you have only the bare minimum insurance required. If you have comprehensive coverage, it’s a different story.

There are various types of insurance coverage options. Depending on the state you live in, you may or may not be required to obtain a certain level of coverage. These are the different levels of coverage of that most car insurance companies offer:

  1. Liability Coverage: This is the minimum coverage that states require. It does not cover any damages to your car. Instead, liability coverage pays for the damages sustained to another vehicle in an accident in which you were at fault.

  2. Property Damage Liability Coverage: This option helps you to make payments for damages sustained in an accident in which you were at fault for damaging someone’s property.

  3. Bodily Injury Liability: This option covers payments for injuries sustained by the other party in an accident in which you were at fault. It can help pay for medical bills, funeral costs, and physical therapy.

  4. Personal Injury Protection: This covers you and anyone else who was in the vehicle with you at the time of an accident. It can cover lost wages due to the accident as well as medical expenses.

  5. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This option assists in covering costs associated with an accident in which you were hit by another driver who either has minimal or no insurance at all.

  6. Collision Coverage: With this option, repairs to your vehicle will be covered after an accident.

  7. Comprehensive Coverage: This policy option essentially provides coverage to your vehicle for damages that are outside of an accident such as vandalism, natural disasters or if the vehicle is stolen.

Obviously, most insurance coverage options do not include damages caused by natural disasters. If you have hurricane car damage, your vehicle will not be covered unless your policy includes comprehensive coverage.

However, using your comprehensive coverage can be a double-edged sword. If you do have this type of coverage in your policy, you might notice an increase in your premium after filing your claim if a tree falls on your car. Consider the pros and cons of filing a claim with your insurer versus paying for the damages yourself. In the short-term, repair costs may be high, but in the long-term your premium will stay the same. On the other hand, you did choose this coverage option for this very reason, right?

If you do decide to move forward with a claim, you will need to call your insurer to report the damage and let them know that a tree fell on your car. They will open a claim and investigate the situation. They might ask you to send pictures and videos of the damage. If the representative decides that your situation does fall under your comprehensive coverage plan, then they will set you up with an approved repair shop in your area to get your car fixed.

How Much Will Car Repairs Cost

The cost of fixing your vehicle after incurring flood or windstorm damage depends on your coverage. If your insurance plan includes comprehensive coverage, you will likely not have to pay anything towards repairs, other than a deductible.

On the other hand, if you do not have a policy that covers damage from natural weather patterns or disasters, you will be responsible for fixing all of the damages out-of-pocket. Depending on the type and amount of damage, the costs can vary wildly. These are some examples of repair prices that you may have to pay for:

  • Windshield: $100 - $400

  • Scratches: $100 - $1,500

  • Dents: $50 - $500

  • Window Glass: $100-$350

  • Door Replacement: $500 - $1,500

  • Suspension: $2,5000-$3,500

  • Transmission: $4,000 - $5,000

  • Airbag Replacement: $3,000 - $6,000

These are rough estimates. The exact prices depend on the severity of the damage, amount of the parts that need to be replaced, and the type of vehicle you own.

If a tree fell on a car, is it totaled? This is a common concern among drivers who experience such a startling incident. For a car to be considered totaled, the total cost of repairs generally must be more than the value of the car.

Evidently, if a tree falls on a car or any other type of unexpected event damages your vehicle, there is no simple solution for fixing your car. It is important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of including and using comprehensive car insurance in your policy versus paying for unexpected damages yourself.

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7/22/2020

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