So, you’re ready to leave for work in the morning, and you grab your keys and your phone and hustle out the door. You step onto the porch and immediately drop everything. Apparently, your car did something to antagonize the tree next to the driveway…because that tree has decided to fall over and squash your car like a bug. Clearly, you’re going to be late to work, but you’ve got bigger worries right now: does auto insurance cover you if a tree falls on your car? Let’s explain.
Does car insurance cover you if a tree falls?
Well, it depends on what kind of coverage you have for your car.
If you have liability insurance and nothing else, no, you probably would not be covered for that villainous tree. That’s because liability insurance doesn’t actually cover your car. It’s intended to protect the other drivers on the road if you hit them.
It helps to cover your legal responsibility to the other driver if you’re at fault in an accident – and it can help you cover your legal expenses if you get sued. It consists of different pieces:
Bodily injury: If you’re at fault in an accident, bodily injury liability helps cover the other driver’s medical bills and pain and suffering.
Property damage: Again, if you’re at fault in an accident, this will help cover the repairs or replacement of the other driver’s vehicle (or other property you damage with your car.)
Okay, all that is to say that liability insurance doesn’t cover you if a tree falls on your car. However, comprehensive coverage generally does. It’s one of the coverages that will actually protect your car. So – if you have comprehensive coverage, yes, you should be covered if a tree falls on your car.
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What is comprehensive coverage?
Comprehensive coverage helps to cover damage to your car that’s caused by something other than an accident (collision insurance helps cover accidents – more on that in a second.) Anyways, comprehensive coverage generally covers:
- Animal strikes
- Falling objects (hey – like if a tree falls on your car!)
So yes, if you have comprehensive coverage, that tree should be covered. Comprehensive coverage comes in handy sometimes.
Pro tip: Be sure to read through your comprehensive coverage carefully so you know exactly what is and isn’t covered.
Okay, so that’s the scoop on comprehensive coverage. But it has a buddy called collision coverage that can also protect your car against certain losses. Let’s explore that, shall we?
What is collision coverage?
Collision coverage goes hand-in-hand with comprehensive coverage. It can help you repair or replace your car if you’re in an accident or otherwise, well, collide with something.
So, let’s say you’re cruising along on your way to work. You’re singing along to the radio, minding your own business, when all of a sudden there’s a goose in the middle of the road. You know you shouldn’t swerve, but instinct kicks in and you wrench the wheel. You skid off the road and hit a tree. You and the goose are both mercifully unharmed, but your car is pretty squished in the front. (And you’re betting the goose doesn’t have insurance or money, so you can’t sue him. Great.) You’re going to be late to work…although once again that’s the least of your worries at the present moment.
Collision coverage is the coverage that can help you with getting your car back on the road ASAP. It can help cover the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle. In this case, you hit the tree – it didn’t fall on your car. That’s the difference between collision and comprehensive coverage. Collision – accidents and running into things. Comprehensive – other freak things that could damage your car (fire, theft, vandalism, animal strikes, and falling objects.)
Pro tip: If you have a car payment or lienholder, your lender will probably require you to carry both collision and comprehensive insurance. They want to protect their investment in the car, after all.
So, if you have comprehensive coverage as part of your car insurance plan, you don’t have to worry about trees that may or may not be holding a grudge against your vehicle. If a tree or branch crashes onto your vehicle, you should be covered.
So, moral of the story: take some time to think about getting collision and comprehensive coverage for your car. You never know when a hostile tree could take out its pent-up anger on your ride.
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