Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

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aida2003
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Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by aida2003 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:42 pm

Hello,

I'd like to request BH advice how to handle everything because we have not a clue and of course we'd like to incur as little expense as possible. Here it goes:

There's a very strong wind in our area today which caused an old tree to fall on my DH's car in the parking lot of his employer sometime during work hours. I drove to pick him up and took pictures of the incident. It's not awful but the car is damaged nevertheless. Basically the roof is damaged and there is a dent on the front hood. Because of the impact on the roof, the light inside the car turned on. Hopefully no other electronics were damaged. It's Toyota Camry 2003.

My main question is whether we should anticipate DH's employer to cover our bills: repair the car and rental car? How would such a situation be handled from a company's perspective? The 3rd party security guard came, looked around and called the facility's manager and left a voicemail for him. He didn't know about the insurance, etc. We left the car with the tree in the place and went home. Since it's not a car wreck on a road, I think police doesn't need to be involved, right?
Should we contact our car insurance ASAP or wait and see if the employer will cover our expenses? If the employer declines to help, can we wait before contacting our auto insurance company since the car is functional (I think) or is there time limit when people are supposed to contact after an incident in order to be covered? What documentation would we need to provide since there won't be a police report?

I've lately considered to drop full insurance on this car and only keep liability, but now it might come handy in case the employer doesn't help us. If I understand our cars' policy correctly, it says we have comprehensive with $100 deductible and collision with the $250 deductible plus extended transportation expense at $30/day, $900/loss. Before pulling the insurance papers out, I was thinking we had $1k deductible which I probably confused with the house insurance. Would it be comprehensive insurance in this case?
Any other advice?

Thank you.

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bottlecap
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by bottlecap » Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:45 pm

I would contact your insurer, who will want to contact your husband's employer's insurer.

JT

aida2003
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by aida2003 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:55 pm

Thanks, JT. That seems simple enough. I was just wondering in case our auto insurance doesn't cover falling trees (though I think I'm wrong), we hesitate to make a claim that isn't covered and then have our premium increased.
But your advice seems logical what we should do. Do other people agree with JT?

Thank you.

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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:01 pm

Yes, I agree with JT but also recommend you read your insurance policy document so you know what questions to ask your insurance agent.
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livesoft
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by livesoft » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:04 pm

You should have called your insurance company before posting to the forum.

My fiancée called me after getting mugged. I asked if she had called the police. She said, "Not yet." So I asked her to call the police right away and hung up on her.
Last edited by livesoft on Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Busting Myths
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by Busting Myths » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:07 pm

I would find out if the employer owns the property or if it leases it from a third party. You want to make sure you are contacting the correct party that has liability and possibly avoid any bad blood with your employer.

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Taylor Larimore
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by Taylor Larimore » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:09 pm

Aida:

I would follow JTs advice to contact your insurer.

Document the insurer's advice and anything else you think might be important.

Avoid any argument with DH's employer.

Best wishes.
Taylor
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swaption
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by swaption » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:11 pm

Yes agree with JT. As well, regardless of whether it is covered or not(although I would bet it is), your insurance premium is unlikely to go up. Generally the stuff that impacts that are things that indicate increased risk like moving violations or accidents where you are at fault. My wife just ran into a deer and that is what I am expecting, although in this case I think the deer did not have insurance :wink: I also don't think his employer's insurer will ultimately be relevant.

gtaylor
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by gtaylor » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:12 pm

This happened to me a few years back. My employer rented the space, so it was the landlord of the office that was on the hook.

As I understood it, official liability was a function of negligence around caring for sick or dead trees. If the tree is healthy and there was just a windstorm and rain that knocked it down as an "act of god" then no one is liable; if the property owner had obviously gimpy trees towering over parked cars, he ought to have trimmed or felled them, so it's his fault.

In my case the trees were a bit sickly, since they paved right up to them when they made the lot. However I do not know if there was any true admission or determination of liability. IIRC the landlord's insurance offered to pay under some sort of goodwill criteria.

Come to think of it, my car was also crushed in the same lot ten years before, the very week we moved in. Turns out that all the snow slid off the roof in huge waves, crushing anything in the parking spots below. Oops. That time the builder was still the nominal owner, he paid directly for each car repair, and threw in a gift certificate for a fancy french dinner. Probably a good idea, since he crushed half the cars of his only tenant...

So, that's 2 for 2 times my car was crushed in a parking lot and the property owner paid.

As the earlier poster said, your insurance company should sort it out for you. Possibly if you didn't have comprehensive they would refer you to the other party's insurer, but you do, so they should just handle it.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:41 pm

Do you even have comprehensive insurance? The car's definately in the zone where you probably would drop it.
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aida2003
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by aida2003 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:15 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:Do you even have comprehensive insurance? The car's definately in the zone where you probably would drop it.
Yes, we do. Based on the above posters sounds it's good we did in case the company wants to do nothing to help us out. Most said that we should avoid 'bad stuff' with the employer so probably it's not appropriate to ask to cover a rental car as if it's travel expense, right?

Yes, the tree was definitely old and totally sick and I thought myself yesterday that the employer should go after its landscape company for neglecting maintenance on its property.

He'll start with our insurance agent right now.

Thank you for advice.

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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:55 am

livesoft wrote:You should have called your insurance company before posting to the forum.

My fiancée called me after getting mugged. I asked if she had called the police. She said, "Not yet." So I asked her to call the police right away and hung up on her.
And she still married you? :D
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:58 am

aida2003 wrote:
Jack FFR1846 wrote:Do you even have comprehensive insurance? The car's definately in the zone where you probably would drop it.
Yes, we do. Based on the above posters sounds it's good we did in case the company wants to do nothing to help us out. Most said that we should avoid 'bad stuff' with the employer so probably it's not appropriate to ask to cover a rental car as if it's travel expense, right?

Yes, the tree was definitely old and totally sick and I thought myself yesterday that the employer should go after its landscape company for neglecting maintenance on its property.

He'll start with our insurance agent right now.

Thank you for advice.
I would have called the police, just to have it documented. It doesn't have to be on public property for the police to answer a call. Just imagine you had an incident at home, do you not call the police because its private property?
Next, call your insurance company. Obtain the insurance carrier information for your employer's property liability insurance and give that to your insurance company. Obtain cost estimate of the damage from the adjuster including pictures of damages. The employer's insurance company will pay your insurance company who in turn will pay to have your car repaired to like new condition.

Sorry your car was hit - I know what that can be like.
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frugaltype
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by frugaltype » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:59 am

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
livesoft wrote:You should have called your insurance company before posting to the forum.

My fiancée called me after getting mugged. I asked if she had called the police. She said, "Not yet." So I asked her to call the police right away and hung up on her.
And she still married you? :D
+1

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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:02 am

gtaylor wrote:As I understood it, official liability was a function of negligence around caring for sick or dead trees. If the tree is healthy and there was just a windstorm and rain that knocked it down as an "act of god" then no one is liable; if the property owner had obviously gimpy trees towering over parked cars, he ought to have trimmed or felled them, so it's his fault.

In my case the trees were a bit sickly, since they paved right up to them when they made the lot. However I do not know if there was any true admission or determination of liability. IIRC the landlord's insurance offered to pay under some sort of goodwill criteria.
Good thing, I have my trees trimmed and looked over by an arborist every 3 - 5 years, the arborist states they won't handle a tree on a yearly basis if it's healthy, more fiddling can cause the tree to get sick and die opening up a big can of liability worms for themselves. I have a tree that is taller than 75 feet in front of my home - towering would be an understatement, my neighbors are afraid of it during a windstorm, and yet the town won't permit me to cut it down - so I just pay to have someone maintain it - every 3-5 years.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

mayday23
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by mayday23 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:40 am

livesoft wrote:You should have called your insurance company before posting to the forum.

My fiancée called me after getting mugged. I asked if she had called the police. She said, "Not yet." So I asked her to call the police right away and hung up on her.
Hopefully her next call after the police was to a pawn shop to sell the ring you got her. Wait, this is BH, so it was probably a CZ...

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dm200
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by dm200 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:12 am

Definitely start with YOUR Insurance company. A tree falling on the car would be under comprehensive (and subject to your deductible).

I suspect it may get complicated as far as the employer, the parking lot .. etc. I would let your insurance company deal with the employer, their insurance (if applicable), liability issues , etc. Then, your insurance company is the difficult one .. and not you.

livesoft
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by livesoft » Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:14 am

mayday23 wrote:
livesoft wrote:You should have called your insurance company before posting to the forum.

My fiancée called me after getting mugged. I asked if she had called the police. She said, "Not yet." So I asked her to call the police right away and hung up on her.
Hopefully her next call after the police was to a pawn shop to sell the ring you got her. Wait, this is BH, so it was probably a CZ...
There was NO ring. It would've been stolen during the mugging anyways. And they caught the perps.
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rogermexico
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by rogermexico » Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:31 pm

I had same problem with a neighbor's tree and my understanding of the law is similar to gtaylors. It's an act of god and not covered by their property insurance unless part of tree was obviously dead and neglected. I'd take some pictures of the tree.
I disagree to some degree with advice that your first call should always be to your insurance agent. If you have higher deductible and limited damage, you should first consider whether it will be worth making a claim, given that future premiums will probably be affected. If it won't make sense to make the claim, I wouldn't call insurance, since even the call/consultation will be logged and may affect future premiums.

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frugaltype
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by frugaltype » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:38 pm

livesoft wrote:
mayday23 wrote:
livesoft wrote:You should have called your insurance company before posting to the forum.

My fiancée called me after getting mugged. I asked if she had called the police. She said, "Not yet." So I asked her to call the police right away and hung up on her.
Hopefully her next call after the police was to a pawn shop to sell the ring you got her. Wait, this is BH, so it was probably a CZ...
There was NO ring. It would've been stolen during the mugging anyways. And they caught the perps.
livesoft, every girl's dream :D

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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by manwithnoname » Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:02 pm

aida2003 wrote:
Jack FFR1846 wrote:Do you even have comprehensive insurance? The car's definately in the zone where you probably would drop it.
Yes, we do. Based on the above posters sounds it's good we did in case the company wants to do nothing to help us out. Most said that we should avoid 'bad stuff' with the employer so probably it's not appropriate to ask to cover a rental car as if it's travel expense, right?

Yes, the tree was definitely old and totally sick and I thought myself yesterday that the employer should go after its landscape company for neglecting maintenance on its property.

He'll start with our insurance agent right now.

Thank you for advice.
If you have auto insurance file a claim with the insurer. Insurer will send out an adjustor and give you an estimate of damage. You will have to pay any deductible. Don't bother with your employer. Does your auto ins. cover rental car?

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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by inbox788 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:03 pm

Good advice here. Who is your insurance company? This is the test of whether they're a good company or not, and even some of the ones that aren't so good usually come through here. They should be able to make you whole, including your deductible, because they'll be doing after the property owner, who likely has some form of liability insurance. When insurance companies can't make good on simple claims like these, imagine if it were a big claim. They're not going to want to get bad reputation and lose customers and future sales. Since you're not at fault here, I don't see how they'll be raising your insurance, but that might depend on company and/or state you're in. No different that if someone else drove into your parked car.

aida2003
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Re: Advise please: Tree fell on our car at DH workplace

Post by aida2003 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:24 pm

Here's the update on the case.
DH talked to the employer facility's manager who didn't really know how it is with their insurance, etc. According to him, there was a case years ago when an employee ran into gates when leaving the parking lot and the company helped him out. If it doesn't happen in our case, we won't make demands. I don't know if our insurance company (we have ERIE insurance and we reside in NC, BTW) will do anything or not. DH is waiting for a call from the insurance company now.

After talking to the manager, he called our insurance agent who told him he will open the claim with ERIE and expect a call from ERIE. His car is covered under comprehensive and we shouldn't incur more than our $100 deductible. Our premiums in the future will not be affected either (as if we'll because the premium changes upwards annually anyway :oops: ). The agent also advised to go to a particular body shop which is on ERIE's list of approved repair shops to get a quote which happens to be near DH's workplace and Enterprise rental is next door.

Then he drove to the body shop that gave him a quote. They'll order a new roof and hood and a few new parts as soon as ERIE gives them a green light to proceed. The quote came close to $3k and supposedly it will be paid by ERIE (minus the deductible), because our car's book value is way above the line (75% ??) per software calculation. It seems the car is all fine mechanically so I'm glad we won't need to purchase a new car so soon (I'll finish paying off a 0% loan on my car in August). Also, the guy seemed to know about the rental car. He said that Enterprise will work with ERIE and they'll arrange a rental that doesn't exceed the $30/day cost covered under our policy. I don't know if this $30/day will include the full insurance on it or his car's insurance will be applied to the rental.

After this incident, I started to question when or if it's worth it to cancel comprehensive/collision insurance. I happened to keep our old premium papers. I went through all of them and Camry averaged $55/year over 11 years for the comprehensive insurance with $100 deductible. Collision has a deductible of $250 and it was $115 last year.
However, after the car is fixed its book value will be less in ERIE's eyes, right? We need to renew our policy next month so I don't know if we should keep them both or drop both or one of them (collision most likely). OTOH, the extra ~$200/year is not that bad, is it?
When we had Corolla, (our insurance papers show that) we dropped collision & comprehensive when it was 6 or 7 years old. DH drove it then and he was hit twice. He wasn't at fault and luckily both culprits were insured so repairs were covered by their insurance companies.

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