Tree Branch Falls on Car

One listener wants to know who pays if someone else’s tree branch falls onto your car. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

Listener Frances S. was on her way to work when a high wind blew a branch off someone’s tree, which landed on her car. She wants to know who has to pay for the damage. 

The answer is, I’m sorry to say, probably Frances. A homeowner whose tree causes damage could potentially be held liable if the homeowner was aware the tree or the branch was dead and was negligent in not taking it down before it caused harm. 

But the situation Frances described is one in which the damage was caused by a high wind, which would be outside the homeowner’s control and likely not the result of the homeowner’s negligence. In that case, if Frances has the type of comprehensive car insurance that covers all damage, not just damage caused by a car crash, then her car insurance would pay. Otherwise, the cost will unfortunately be borne by Frances.

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