Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Sep 27, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • Finding any part of a broken tree on your car can be an upsetting experience, one that you may rely on your insurance to help resolve.
  • If any portion of a tree breaks off or falls over and damages your car, then your insurance policy may cover the loss.
  • Your homeowner’s insurance coverage will not normally cover this loss, meaning you will need to have active car insurance with the proper coverage option to be covered.
  • If the offending tree is located on or has come from someone else’s land, then their insurance policy may be responsible for covering your damages.
  • If there is not proof of negligence by the other party, however, then your policy may be your best bet.

Any time that you experience damages to your car, your first thought may be about getting the vehicle repaired or replaced. When the damages are caused by a tree, it can be hard to decide who is at fault and which policy should cover the loss.

If your car is damaged by a fallen tree or tree limbs, your car insurance policy is normally the party responsible for helping you recover from the loss. There are unique circumstances where another party may be responsible or where you may be fully liable.

Enter your zip code into our free comparison tool to find the coverage you need at the best price.

Carrying The Necessary Policy Coverage


When you first purchase your auto policy, and then when you renew it, you have the option to choose different types of coverage to meet or exceed your needs.

Some of these coverage options are required by your state, such as liability coverage, and some of these are optional, such as comprehensive coverage.

It’s important that you take your insurance needs, your budget, and your ability to repair or replace your damaged vehicle into account when choosing your policy terms.

In the situation mentioned above, comprehensive coverage is often the policy option that will step in to help you recover from your loss.

This coverage option has also been called “other-than-collision” coverage, meaning it helps to protect you from incidents that are not related to a collision with another vehicle, a stationary object, or a pothole.

Comprehensive coverage protects you in many situations, such as:

  • Fire damages
  • Vehicle theft
  • Vehicle vandalism
  • Hail storms
  • Even fallen trees or tree limbs

This coverage does often carry an insurance deductible, which is the amount of the loss that your provider deducts before completing a settlement. This amount may be covered by you up front, or your provider may simply subtract the amount from your claim settlement.

It’s important to remember that you must carry comprehensive coverage before an incident occurs.

If you do not carry this coverage, your insurance provider is not obligated to cover your loss, meaning you will be financially responsible for the entire vehicle repair or replacement.

If you are not sure which coverage you carry, check your policy documents or your declaration page from your insurance carrier. You may also contact them to find out more about what your policy carries and how you can add additional coverage if desired.

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The Tree Was On Your Property

Determining who is responsible for the loss to your vehicle is often your first train of thought when damages occur.

If the tree that damaged your car is on your property, your insurance policy will often be responsible for covering the loss, assuming no foul play and no negligence has occurred.

While you may carry your homeowner’s and your auto insurance policies, it will be the coverage on your car that will be covering the loss. This means your car will be subject to the limits of your policy and you will be responsible for any deductibles.

In a situation like this, your insurance carrier may decide to investigate your claim to determine how the damages occurred.

If the fallen tree or tree limbs were just an unforeseen event, potentially caused by strong winds or rains, then your provider may reach a simple settlement with you.

However, if they determine that negligence or foul play was involved, there may be additional steps you must meet before the claim can be settled.

Remember that your insurance policy will normally cover these types of damages as long as you carry comprehensive coverage; meaning the coverage must be purchased before the incident.

If you do not carry comprehensive coverage before damage occurs, your auto insurance policy and homeowner’s policy are not obligated to cover any portion of the loss, leaving you liable for the entire bill.

It is important to review your policy coverage each year, making sure that your limits and coverage options still meet your insurance needs. If you are unsure that your policy fits the criteria, speak to your insurance carrier.

They can often discuss your potential risks, what your policy covers currently, and areas that you may want to add coverage to protect yourself further.

The Tree Was On Someone Else’s Property


If your vehicle was damaged by a fallen tree or tree limbs that were located on someone else’s property, then that person may be liable for covering your damages.

This coverage would fall under the responsible party’s insurance policy, meaning you would work with that party’s insurance carrier to resolve your claim and get your vehicle repaired or replaced.

Before determining how to resolve a claim of this nature, the insurance carrier that has received the claim will often investigate to determine the cause of the damage. Just like when the tree is on your property, the claim investigation will look for signs of foul play or negligence.

In this case, if the party responsible for the tree has been found negligent or found to be engaging in foul play, then your loss may be covered by their policy.

If the fallen tree or tree limb was sheer coincidence or an unpreventable act, possibly caused by a heavy wind or rainstorm, for instance, then your insurance coverage may have to settle your claim.

There are situations where your insurance provider may cover your loss first, then investigate the claim to determine if another party was at fault.

In these situations, if they can prove another party was negligent in their responsibility, then they may be able to recover or portion or all of the settlement that they paid out.

This process is called subrogation, and your insurance carrier will normally handle this after they have settled your loss. This process may also reimburse you for any claim-related expenses you had, so long as the other insurance policy pays out.



Whenever your vehicle is damaged by a fallen tree or tree limbs, make sure to contact your insurance provider to discuss your course of action.

In some cases, you may decide to handle the damages yourself instead of working through the claim process and accepting a deductible. This option is perfectly acceptable.

In other cases, however, you may need to work with your provider to resolve your claim and reach a settlement to cover your loss.

This will normally require that you carry comprehensive coverage on your car insurance, which will help you repair or replace your vehicle regardless of who is at fault.

Your provider will often review your policy terms and limits with you during the claim process, giving you expectations along the way.

If the tree that was responsible was located on property that is owned by another party, you might want to pursue coverage under that party’s insurance coverage.

Negligence is usually a factor in these specific claims, meaning any claim you file for this type of loss may be investigated by the insurance company responsible for the claim.

During and after a claim is a great time to assess how your policy and your insurance provider are working for you.

If you find yourself unsatisfied with the claim process or the service you receive, you may want to consider looking at other insurance carriers to provide you with coverage and service that can meet your needs.

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