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

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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

Answers:

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.


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