If there’s one thing we all know about living in Texas, it’s our ever changing weather conditions. One day it can be 82 and sunny the next 72 with mind-blowing thunderstorms, tornadoes and straight line winds. Sometimes it can get so extreme that even the oldest Live Oaks can be uprooted…not to mention scores of falling branches. So what do you do if one falls on your car? dallasnews.com has some guidance. Thanks to them for this information.
If a tree falls onto your vehicle
If your vehicle is damaged by a falling tree, optional comprehensive coverage on a standard auto insurance policy provides financial assistance.
• Contact the auto insurance company immediately to report the damage, to learn whether the damage is covered and to learn the procedure for estimates and processing.
• Take photos of the accident scene before anything is moved and before emergency repairs are started.
• Take measures to protect the vehicle from further damage. Save receipts.
• After the insurance company evaluates the damage, a dollar value will be negotiated. You may receive a check to help pay for repairs or you may be referred to approved facilities where repairs can be billed to the insurance company. Expect to pay a deductible.
• The maximum insurance benefit cannot exceed the current value of the vehicle, so if the damage is severe, you may not receive enough money to pay for repairs.
What you can expect from coverage
• If the tree damaged a structure that is insured, there should be coverage to help pay for removing the tree. (The amount of coverage depends on the type of policy you have.) If the fallen tree did not damage an insured structure, there probably is no coverage for tree removal.
• Some insurance policies may help with the cost of removing a fallen tree that blocks a driveway or a ramp used by a handicapped person.
• If the damage is not severe and you have a high deductible on the insurance policy, you probably should not file a claim, says insurance agent Bill “Bulldog” Cunningham. Filing multiple claims on a policy reflects badly on your insurance record and could result in policy cancellation, he says.
• Ask the insurance agent to recommend companies that are experienced at removing fallen trees or in making emergency repairs to damaged structures.
If you’ve had a branch or tree, or any other body damage done to your car and need advice, please don’t hesitate to give me a call, leave a comment or come and see us. Not to brag, but we’ve got a great collision/damage repair center.