A storm blows down tree on my property & hits my neighbor's house/car - WHO PAYS?
If your neighbor or another party wanted damage to their home or vehicles covered (by flying objects in a windstorm), they needed to purchase insurance coverage to protect themselves. "Acts of God" is not an insurance term but these things (windstorm, hail, hurricane, weight of ice & snow, etc) are what we call "1st party claims", meaning the injured party has to purchase coverage for damage to their own property (building & contents coverage for homeowners, comprehensive coverage for autos). Liability on the other hand is a "3rd party" claim/coverage, meaning you would have to be legally liable for the coverage to pay - that means that you would have needed to do something wrong - like not shoveling & salting your walkway when it snows, cutting a tree down that falls on your neighbors house, digging a hole and not securing it then someone falls into it, etc. If you maintain your property like a prudent person should, then you are NOT liable for the damages. How can this be? Your neighbor or the other party had the same option to purchase insurance coverage as you did. If they have coverage they need to submit the claim to their insurance company. If their insurance company determines the claim is subject to "subrogation" recovery (meaning they go after you/your insurance for repayment) they will file the recovery notice (basically it is between the carriers).
What if they sue? The owners can sue you, for that matter anyone can sue anyone in the US, however, for them to win; they have to prove that you are negligent. Since you are aware of this incident, report it to your insurance agent/company if you feel your neighbor will sue. They will deny coverage & if the other party tries to sue, your insurance company will defend you (they have attorneys on staff for this) so you do not have to worry about that. This is why you purchase insurance.
"Acts of God" claims - as some people call them - can be confusing and difficult to understand, so we are posting this information to our website as a reference for our community. Please feel free to print this out or point your neighbor/others to this site so they understand how these claims are processed.
If you have any additional questions, please contact the agency to speak with one of our agents who would be happy to discuss this further with you.