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Storms, insurance & falling trees: Who pays when your home or car is damaged

You'd like your insurance to pay, right? It will, if you have the right policy.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The wind and the rain are coming thanks to the upcoming storm.
A falling tree on a house or car near you could be next. When there's damage 2 Wants To Know gets the calls. So, let me answer your questions before you ask.

The Insurance Information Institute says no matter where a tree came from, whether your yard or your neighbor’s yard, it doesn't matter, your insurance covers the cost.

The only time your neighbor pays for your damage (or you have to pay for your neighbor’s damage) is if the tree was a danger and that danger was documented in writing to the other party.

Here is a key point to keep in mind. Usually, the insurance company will cover the cost of getting the tree out of the house and repairing the house.
But many policies don't cover cutting up the tree and physically removing it off your property-- that's an out of pocket cost.


Your homeowners insurance covers the tree damage unless the tree damages your car, then it's your auto insurance, but only if you have the right kind.

“Comprehensive coverage is really for acts of nature things like hail damage hitting an animal lightning flood a limb falling on it,” explained Christopher Cook of Alliance Insurance Services. It's your comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy that pays. But comprehensive coverage isn't required, so you may not have it.

Whether it’s a storm, a fire, a broken water pipe, if you need to make an insurance claim, would you be able to rattle off all the items in your house? You don’t need that pressure.

Consumer Reports says the best way to keep track is to make a home inventory ahead of time for insurance purposes.

"It doesn't have to be complicated. You can even use the camera on your phone."

Sounds easy, right? Just hit record than describe everything you have in closets, cabinets, drawers - anywhere you have anything you'd want to replace. That means books, paintings, and major appliances. Take note of brand names and serial numbers so your insurer can replace what you have with exact or similar items.