Does homeowner liability insurance cover neighbor car damage when due to negligence?

  • by Simply
  • Apr 10,2018
  • 12 answers

homeowner notified of dangerous tree including statement from tree expert that the tree appeared to be in danger of falling based on visual inspection from 10 feet away (not entering neighbor property to inspect tree). tree falls and damages neighbors car parked in driveway 3 months later...
does tree owner insurance cover the car damage
in the US


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Insurance Answers (12)

lucy 6 months ago

https://www.georgejohnsonins.com/news/38...
Normally, the car owner would file a claim under their own auto policy to pay under comprehensive, then the auto insurance (if) they believe that the other homeowner’s tree was diseased or dying, then would go after the homeowners insurance to reimburse the auto insurance company.
In most cases for a tree to fall, is due to a storm, ice or lightning.
The prevailing thought is that if the tree is dying/diseased etc, that the homeowner should take steps to prevent this, by cutting it down as an example.
Either way, if it is found that the homeowner is liable, then the homeowners insurance will hire their (own) expert to verify (if) owed or not, plus if sued, then they must defend the policyholder.

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David 14 6 months ago

Depends on the wording of the policy. If the car owner has comprehensive insurance they'll cover that.

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Nancy 6 months ago

Yes, the general liability portion of their coverage will.

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Casey Y 6 months ago

1. Insurance is irrelevant, you need to get to the fact of whether the other property owner is liable...period. Then, you can get into discussions about whose insurance should pay what.
2. "Tree Experts" (assume you mean an ISA Certified Arborist) tend not to provide formal reports on trees they cannot inspect directly, only visually. They might have made an indication that there might be potential issues with the tree, but they wouldn't go further than that.
3. If that letter was sent by certified mail, that would be a good case for negligence.
Here is the difficulty...there are no strict laws about this specific issue. This would need to go to court (or arbitration) to get an actual answer. You don't mention the state, which would vary how tort would apply. This would need to end up before a court or arbitrator to resolve...

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Maxi 6 months ago

Without reading the terms and conditions set out in the persons home insurance papers, no idea if it is covered or not, the person whose vehicle it is will need to either contact their own insurance and make a claim and their insurance will sue the tree owner and/or they will have to sue in small claims court

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A Hunch 6 months ago

How much of a "neutral" party is this "tree expert"?
If s/he happens to be some random college botany professor who is simply walking down the street = their opinion might be taken as much more valid.
If s/he happens to be an arborist or tree trimmer who is in the tree trimming / tree removal business and would like to make some money off of this homeowner - unless a non-expert can also recognize that the tree is diseased/dead = I don't think their opinion means much

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Dan B 6 months ago

The property owner whose tree is on - their homeowner's insurance covers the damage.

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Zarnev 6 months ago

If the owner knew, or should have known, about the issue with the tree being a hazard their homeowner's policy will cover the car. It doesn't matter what eventually caused the tree to fall.
However, the tree being a hazard is open to interpretation by the courts. Just because a tree "expert" notified the owner doesn't mean that the tree was actually a hazard. To have this covered will mean taking the homeowner to court. In court the insurance company will defend the homeowner no matter what. If the court determines that the homeowner was negligent for any reason the insurance will still pay but will then probably cancel their insurance or jack up the premium. If the court determines the homeowner is not negligent the insurance won't pay and the auto owner (or their insurance if they have the coverage) will need to pay.
FYI ▬ There is no such thing as "act of God" in U.S. insurance policies.

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Godless Gazoo 6 months ago

Most policies would minus the deductible.

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Grumpier Old Woman 6 months ago

Not necessarily and how do you know that the neighbour has any insurance at all. What happens in the case of that sort of damage, is that you have to sue your neighbour for negligence in allowing the tree to become dangerous and fall, damaging your property. Then, if insurance is available, it would hopefully (for your neighbour), pay out. Otherwise if you sue successfully, the neighbour has to pay from his own pocket.

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Mamawisdom 6 months ago

It is really hard to know. That is why you have to call your own insurance company. Trees falling can be considered an "act of God" which typically aren't covered -- or at least most insurance companies will try to not cover. There is a lot of suspicious info in your post. Who called out the tree guy to inspect the tree if not the homeowner? You? If you knew the tree was a risk of falling, why did you continue to park under it? How exactly, was the owner of the tree notified about the tree? Do you have proof, like a registered letter or a conversation with the owner?
Of course, you and or your insurance company's lawyers can attempt to sue the tree owner. The only way to know if you have a case is to contact a lawyer and see if they will take the case based on the evidence you have.

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Simply 6 months ago

so now it won't let me add to the book I need to write..
what if the house only has room for 1 car in the driveway (no garage), and there is no street parking..or maybe the car owner felt the tree would only reach the house, not the driveway.....
but yeah if the car owner has any responsibility for parking there is an issue that has to be addressed separately
DON"T ASSUME I AM EITHER PARTY.

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