Toppled trees and snapped branches crashed on homes and vehicles during the last two major storms leaving many wondering who’s paying for the damages and how to get the right insurance protection — just in case.
Getting reimbursed for the damages of a toppled tree turns out to be potentially complex and depends on a lot of different things from the type of insurance policy and the health of the tree to what caused the tree to fall.
One Woodland Hills shopper who climbed out of his car’s sunroof after aon his car Jan. 14 in the shopping plaza parking lot, tells how he handled the situation.
Alex Weiss said he called his insurance company immediately at the scene after he took photos and videos of everything. “Get as much information as you can, as much evidence as you can,” said Weiss.
According to Consumer Watchdog, Weiss did it right. “The voters passed a proposition in California in 1988, Prop 103, that bars the insurance companies from penalizing you if you file a claim on you auto insurance and it wasn’t your fault,” said Harvey Rosenfield founder of Consumer Watchdog.
And it’s important to have comprehensive automobile insurance. If a healthy tree crashes onto a car as a result of a storm, comprehensive insurance should cover it according to Consumer Watchdog.
Here is where things get more complicated. When a tree crashes on a home, Rosenfield said homeowner’s insurance should cover it, if the tree is healthy and well-maintained. If a flood causes the tree to collapse, there would need to be separate flood insurance to cover that damage. And if a tree crashes from an earthquake, that would require a separate policy — earthquake insurance.
Consumer Watchdog’s advice: Maintain trees. They advise for those who live in areas where trees could topple to be vigilante and proactive in either removing nonhealthy trees or strengthening them in some way. if a healthy tree falls without striking anything, the property owner is responsible for the cleanup cost. Insurers won’t pay for tree removal unless a covered structure is damaged or the driveway is blocked.
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