Automobile insurance provides different types of coverage, and states have standard policy provisions for each type. All states require liability insurance or proof of financial responsibility to cover the other driver in case you have an accident that is your fault. The states also have a minimum dollar requirement for liability insurance. If you have only the insurance required in your state, you do not have insurance to cover your vehicle for fallen tree damage.
Liability and property damage liability insurance on your car cover an accident in which you are liable. This insurance pays for the other driver's injuries and his vehicle damage. If the other driver is at fault, his insurance covers your injuries and vehicle loss. Your liability insurance does not insure damage to your car.
Comprehensive and Collision
If you want to insure your car for damage, you need comprehensive and collision coverage. These two types of insurance pay for damage to your car, and if you have both comprehensive and collision, you have most perils covered. Collision insurance pays for damages to your car if you have an accident that is your fault. This includes a single-car accident in which you run into a tree, but collision insurance does not insure you if a tree falls on your car. You need comprehensive insurance for that peril. Comprehensive insurance covers fire, theft, vandalism and falling objects, along with windstorm and hail damage. It also covers damage if you strike an object on the highway.
When you obtain comprehensive insurance on your car, you choose a deductible amount. If you have a claim, you are responsible for paying up to the amount of the deductible before the insurance company begins paying for damage. Some insurers pay the amount of the claim directly to you, less the deductible. If you have a lien or financing agreement on your car, the check may be payable to you and the finance company. The finance company may require repairs or payoff of the lien even if you can drive the car. The vehicle is collateral for the loan, and the finance company does not want the value of the collateral decreased.
If you have a tree fall on your car, take photos, notify your insurer and follow instructions. You will likely talk with an adjuster or take the car to a body shop for an estimate. The insurer may ask you to obtain two or three estimates for the repair. If your insurer covers the damage, you may be entitled to a rental car while the body shop makes repairs. Your homeowner's insurance could, in some circumstances, cover the removal of the tree if it blocks a driveway or a wheelchair ramp, although the amount of the deductible may be greater than the cost of the removal. Your homeowner's insurance typically will not cover the removal, however.
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