Homeowners Insurance and Tree Removal

by Michael on Oct 26, 2012 · 1 comment

Photo of Pine Needles

This morning as I walked out to get into my car and head off to work I noticed that we had a tree down in the side yard.

The tree in question was a long-dead pine that was actually standing on our neighbors property before it came crashing down.

The good news is that it didn’t hit anything. In fact, it didn’t even land on our lawn. Rather, it fell in a natural area along the edge of our property.

While it’s not a huge tree, meaning that it will be relatively easy to cut up and remove, this got me to thinking about insurance coverage for downed trees.

So… What’s the deal with homeowners insurance and tree removal?

Here’s the deal:

  • If your tree falls on your own house, then your insurance will cover the damage and pay for the tree removal.
  • If your tree falls on your neighbors house, then their insurance will cover the damage and pay for the tree removal.
  • If your neighbors tree falls on your house, your insurance will cover the damage and pay for the tree removal.
  • If a tree (yours or your neighbor’s) falls in your (or your neighbor’s) yard without hitting a structure then insurance doesn’t come into play unless it blocks access to your property, in which case removal might be covered.

Thus, as a general rule, if your property is damaged, your insurance will cover it. In contrast, if your neighbor’s property is damaged, their insurance will cover it. In our case, insurance wouldn’t come into play even if we needed help getting the tree out of there. But we don’t, so that’s good.

I’ll probably bring it up with our neighbor and see how he wants to proceed. Given where it fell, it’s not particularly time sensitive. If he’s resistant to removing it, I’ll just do it myself — even though it’s technically his tree. It’s just not worth getting into a big disagreement over something like this.

1 Kevin @ Credit Bureau Insider December 3, 2012 at 8:16 am

Last year AFTER Hurricane Irene blacked out our neighborhood and flooded many basements (the sump pumps use electricity), some tree surgeons came through and cut all the branches on trees hanging over the wires.

If they had cut the branches on a ROUTINE basis, the tree across the street might not have taken down the wires, and many basements would have remained dry, and FEMA could have averted lots of benefit payments.

Hurricane Sandy knocked lots of trees onto roofs. The damage from falling trees across the region must be immense.

Imagine if homeowner policies included wellness benefits, such as incentives to take down dead and/or dying trees BEFORE they fall onto houses.

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