When a falling tree wreaks havoc, who pays?

by | Apr 17, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

We love the trees in our yards for their beautiful blooms and glorious shade. But they can also prove a nuisance if they aren’t maintained.

And when they fall and cause damage, they can create a conundrum:

Who is responsible for paying for the cleanup?

“We all know that what goes up must come down,” notes AAA.com in a recent article. Who pays when that happens to a tree depends on various scenarios, as detailed by AAA.com:

When a storm blows over a tree or limb: “Insurance will pay for any damage it causes, minus a deductible,” notes AAA.com, regardless of whose tree it is. “If the property that is damaged is yours, you’ll need to file a claim with your insurance provider.” If the damage is to a neighbor’s yard, they should file with their insurance company.

When a tree falls in your yard without causing damage: You’ll likely have to pay to have it removed, “unless the fallen tree blocks a driveway, in which case insurance may pay to remove it, minus your deductible,” notes AAA.com.

Damage caused by a dead or diseased tree: It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to remove dead or diseased trees before they fall and cause damage. Thus, if it’s your tree, the cost to repair any damage and remove the tree, whether it has fallen in your yard or a neighbor’s, will be yours. Insurance won’t pay in this case.

The best scenario is to keep your trees well-maintained year-round: Keep them professionally pruned; inspect them for “dead wood, cracks, decay and root issues,” says AAA.com; remove trees or limbs interfering with power lines and electrical posts; and immediately remove trees that are “a clear danger to a neighbor’s property,” notes AAA.com, “especially if your neighbor has documentation such as a written request for you to prune or remove it.”

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