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Guest Suffers Property Damage


How would you handle it?

Case: Guest parks car in driveway for detached single family home they are staying at. Overnight, torrential storms blow through the area and the next morning it is discovered that a small dead branch has fallen off of a neighbor’s tree and smashed the guest’s windshield.

Twist one: The neighbor who owns the tree has been warned about dangerous dead wood high in the canopy, and has previously paid for damage caused by said deadwood.

Twist two: The guest backed in my (loooong) driveway and backed right over the yellow painted parking stop I had set up (well behind the house) specifically to keep guests’ cars from being near the neighbor’s dead tree.

Location: NC, USA


I believe the neighbor is liable and I would contact them. Otherwise you are liable for accidents on your property. You should be contacting your insurance agent, not us.


Bear in mind, it was only some minor property damage. No one was hurt. And I assure you K9, the issue was handled long before I turned to this forum.

But even if I thought I had a shred of liability I don’t think I’d call my insurance agent for a broken windshield! I keep insurance for the back-breakers, not the milk-spillers. My primary concern was to minimize the guest’s hassle, and that’s the impetus for the information seeking.

Would you loan a vehicle? Schedule the repair? Pay out of pocket and collect from the neighbor later? What little things would you do to minimize negatives for your guest and attain the golden (fifth) star?


Surely a new windshield can be done at a reasonable price in situ by a mobile company? What about the guests windscreen insurance (mine doesn’t affect my no claims and there’s a small excess), which you could offer to pay. Put a cone or something to stop people parking under the tree. Reclaim from your neighbours and for goodness sake get a tree surgeon in before someone gets hurt.


This is like a whole different post…

I would not loan a vehicle unless I was sure it would be covered by my insurance. They wreck it or kill someone with it and my life is over. I would help with getting the repair because I’m going to assume the guest doesn’t know much about these services in my town.

I would call one of the services that comes to the house and replaces the windshield and I would pay for it out of pocket and deal with the neighbor later. If it couldn’t be done expeditiously I might pay for a couple of ride service rides. Or take them somewhere if I could.

If I were the guest I’d say accidents happen and I’d take care of it myself because I’m independent and responsible like that. Your rating would not be dependent on how you “handled it” unless you did something distinctly unhelpful or were a jerk.


I have great reviews but I’d never consider loaning a vehicle to a guest. In fact, in view of the storm I’d be inclined to think that the damage as an ‘Act of God’. I wouldn’t worry too much about it for star purposes as no reasonable guest could blame the host.

But @KKC says, it would help the guest if the host directs then to the local repair people.

If the guests have paid a good sum for their stay then the average windshield repair (which is about $200 where I live) is something I’d probably pay for and collect from the neighbour. Unless the vehicle is an expensive one - a new windshield for some luxury models can cost in the region of $1000.

In some states, and we’ve no way of knowing where the guests are from, vehicle insurers will pay for windshield repair with no deductible and no penalty. I assume that this is because of the safety and security issues.



I’m a bit puzzled. You presented a scenario and asked for input on how it should be handled. Then you later stated your primary concern is to minimize any hassle the guest might experience, and finally, you revealed you already handled the matter prior to asking the forum.

If you resolved the matter, you must not be entirely satisfied with the outcome or you would not be seeking input. Why not state how you handled it, what you’re not quite happy about and ask how it could have been handled differently. You would probably get a better result rather than having us reinvent the wheel.

Did you loan a vehicle and wish you hadn’t? Did you pay out of pocket and wish you hadn’t? Give us the result of your actions and let us take it from there with suggestions.


I’m not going to go back through and read all the confusing details. But as someone who had a tree branch fall on my windshield during a windstorm, it was no biggie and covered under the comprehensive of my auto insurance… it happened at my former employer. Did I make them responsible?? No. I just filed a claim, got it replaced that afternoon, paid a small deductible and moved on.


I agree, I think guest’s own insurance should cover this. Also, if I’m not mistaken, guest has ignored the sign that told him not to park where he ended up parking. In my eyes, this really deprives him of any sort of moral ground to ask money or anything related to the repair, besides expecting from host to help him arrange some details, like telling him where the nearest reliable car mechanic is.

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