By Nick Logan | World Reporter/Global National Web Producer  Global News

VANCOUVER — B.C. residents whose cars faced the wrath of Mother Nature during Saturday’s dramatic windstorm will have to check how much coverage they purchased in order to determine whether they’ll be covered for trees and tree limbs falling on their vehicles.

“It would depend on the insurance policy you purchased for your vehicle,” Adam Grossman, senior media relations adviser for ICBC, told CKNW. “Typically an object falling on your vehicle, in this situation a tree landing on your vehicle, would be a comprehensive claim.”

While B.C. drivers have to get their basic coverage through ICBC, it is up to them whether they get full coverage through the Crown corporation or through another provider, he explained.

Comprehensive coverage — which covers damage caused by lightning, hail, wind, rising water and falling or flying objects — is optional. But, “thankfully,” most B.C. drivers would have comprehensive coverage through ICBC or a private insurance provider, Grossman added.

“Around 80 per cent of our personal insurance customers get their full coverage through us and that would include collision and comprehensive coverage as well.”

Grossman said in many cases, depending on the individual car owner’s policy, the cost of towing the vehicle to the repair shop to get a damage estimate would be covered.

When it comes to branches and limbs falling on a vehicle, for example, it’s more likely you may only need parts, such as the windshield, to be replaced.

“In the cases where a tree in its entirety has come down on top of a vehicle, in many cases you’ll be looking at a total loss for that claim rather than a repair,” Grossman said. And how much the payout for a “total loss vehicle” will be depended both on the insurance package and the market value of the car.

“We do sell a package, as other insurers do, which can guarantee the full replacement value for their vehicles, for the purchase price. But, again, that’s dependent on whether you purchased that package or whether you have a standard policy with us.”

In cases where there is a dispute over the offer ICBC makes on their claim, such as over the value of a vehicle that has been damaged beyond repair, Grossman said there are steps a customer can go through to appeal.

While there will be a deductible applied to any insurance claim, he added the “good news” is that a comprehensive claim won’t affect a customer’s insurance premium down the road like a collision claim would.

If you need to make a claim, ICBC’s dial-a-claim line is operational 24 hours a day. The number for the Lower Mainland is 604-520-8222. For customers elsewhere in B.C., dial 1-800-910-4222.

“We always advise to submit the claim to us as early as you can, and we can start the process for you and make sure that your repair or replacement is taken care of,” Grossman said.

– With files from CKNW

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