Property Damage Caused by Trees: Are You Responsible?
It can be difficult to determine who’s responsible for property damage caused by trees. Informing yourself of the particulars of your insurance policy before an incident can help you prevent legal issues if you’re found negligent for failing to keep up with tree maintenance. Different scenarios can result in different outcomes when it comes time to make insurance claims. Who Owns It? Establishing responsibility for property damage caused by trees can be tricky. First, find out who owns the tree in question. If the tree trunk is in your yard, it’s typically considered to be your tree. If the trunk sits directly on the property line between your and your neighbor’s yard, you may both own it. How far the leaf coverage extends into either yard doesn’t determine ownership — the trunk does. Who Is Responsible? For the most part, if a tree lands on a home, the homeowner’s insurance policy is responsible for paying for repairs. This is true for all instances where weather or an “act of God” caused the branches or the entire tree to damage property. However, if you own a tree, it falls on your neighbor’s house and they can prove that your direct negligence caused it, you may be responsible for the cost of repairs. Will Insurance Help if it’s Your Fault? If a lack of proper maintenance, such as trimming dead branches or removing a dead tree, is the cause, and you’re determined to be at fault, your policy may not cover the costs if you’re held liable in court. Some policies do cover property damage caused by trees, even when your negligence has caused the incident, but they most likely only will cover the cost of repair to the structure, not the landscaping. What if a Tree Falls on a Car? When a tree falls on a vehicle, the vehicle owner’s comprehensive coverage will usually pay for the repair. If they don’t have comprehensive coverage, they will have to pay for the repairs out of pocket, unless it can be proven that the tree owner was negligent. What if it Falls in the Street? Towns have varying laws when it comes to removal costs. In some municipalities, if you own the tree and it has fallen in the street, you have to pay for the cost of removal. In other towns, the city pays for removal. You can prevent property damage caused by trees when you stay on top of seasonal maintenance, and that’s a task Rivendell Tree Experts can assist you with. Call today for a free estimate.