What to do about a personal auto that was damaged while on vacation?

Last month, my family and I rented a cottage private home from a vacation company for 1 week. I paid for vacation insurance prior to the trip. While on vacation, my car was parked in the driveway in front of the house. A very large branch covering the entire front of my car fell from a tree on to the hood of my car. I suffered a dent and scratches to the paint, fender, and bumper, $1000 damage estimate. Who is responsible to pay the damage; my auto Insurance, the vacation company, travel insurance or the homeowner of the cottage?

Asked on July 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As for whether the auto insurance or the travel insurance needs to pay, you need to review the terms of the policies; insurance policies are contracts, and are governed by their terms. Insurers pay out when, and only when, the policy indicates they should.

The cottage owner would only be liable if he knew, or reasonably should have known (any reasonable owner in a like position would have known) that the tree posed some special hazard--e.g. dead, dying, sick, etc.--and failed to take action. There must be fault for their to be liability.

It is difficult to see how the travel company would be liable since they did not control the property or have the ability to deal with any tree issues or other hazards; without the ability to take action, it is almost impossible to find liability.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.