Trees provide a beautiful view, shade from the summer’s sun, and a home for nature’s creatures. They add many benefits to our yards – as long as they remain healthy and standing.
But what happens if a tree falls, and damages your home or your neighbor’s home? Are you responsible, and will your homeowners insurance cover the damage?
The answer is: it depends.
The Responsibility of Homeowners
As a homeowner, you have a responsibility to keep your home in good condition and your trees healthy. You are required to perform any maintenance work necessary to prevent significant damage to your home. This means removing diseased trees, broken branches and dead tree limbs, so they don’t fall, causing injury or damage to property.
The Responsibility of Homeowners Insurance
Most homeowners insurance policies protect you or your home from accidents that occur as a result of Mother Nature. It includes coverage from falling objects, such as healthy trees that fall because of wind, hail, or the weight of snow or ice. It will cover damage to your home, detached garage or barn, and will also take care of the removal of a tree if it blocks a driveway or a handicap ramp.
If a tree falls and causes damage, your homeowners insurance will need to know the answer to two questions:
- Why did the tree fall?
- Who owns the tree?
Why Did the Tree Fall?
The million-dollar question is what caused the tree to fall. If the tree was healthy and it fell because of a storm, it would be covered by homeowners insurance.
However, maintaining the health of your trees is your responsibility. So if the tree fell because the branches were diseased or damaged, it would not be covered by your homeowners insurance.
Who Owns the Tree?
Ownership comes in to play when determining whose insurance will cover the damage caused by a healthy fallen tree.
If you own the healthy fallen tree, and it causes damage to your home, your homeowners insurance would cover it. If your healthy tree falls on your neighbor’s property, their homeowners insurance would cover it.
Tips to Avoid Damage from Trees
Rivers Insurance Group recommends the following tips to avoid the damage, expense and inconvenience brought on by fallen trees:
- Keep your trees healthy. Have your trees trimmed regularly to avoid being responsible for damage it could cause.
- Hire a landscaper. If your tree’s branches are large or high, hire a professional landscaper to handle the problem for you. Repairing the problem is less expensive than paying for the damage it is likely to cause.
- Know your policy. Understand what is included in your homeowners policy, and the policy limit per tree.
- Talk to your neighbors. If you see a broken branch on your neighbor’s property, bring it to their attention, and explain that a fallen damaged tree is not covered under insurance.
Rivers Insurance Group is an independent insurance agency that provides you with home, auto, life and health insurance coverage. Since we work closely with many different insurance companies, we can offer you exactly the amount of insurance you need, at a price you can afford.
If you would like more information about Rivers Insurance or what your homeowners insurance covers, please give us a call at 614-515-5236.