Who Pays When Your Tree Falls Onto a Neighbor's Property?
If a tree falls onto your neighbor’s property but no one is around to hear it, is it covered by your insurance?
The answer lies in what toppled the tree—such as a storm—how well you cared for the tree before it fell, and whether the fallen tree damaged property.
Typically, if a tree—or branches or limbs—falls onto a home, garage, shed or fence because of a storm, homeowners insurance covers the damage and the cost to remove the tree. If there is no damage to structures, fallen-tree removal likely won’t be covered by insurance.
Here are a few common scenarios for when your tree falls onto a neighbor’s property and whether your home insurance is likely to pay for any damage.
You’ll probably need to pay …
- If the tree was known to be diseased, dead or neglected.
- If you were cutting the tree without professional help.
- If the tree was a clear danger to your neighbor’s property and your neighbor has evidence (such as a written request for you to prune it).
Your neighbor will probably need to pay …
- If the tree was healthy and fell or dropped a limb due to a storm. Acts of nature are nobody’s fault, and so you won’t be responsible for the damage to your neighbor’s property.
- If you can show that you’ve had an arborist properly maintaining your tree.
Important tip to avoid these scenarios
Even though homeowners insurance doesn’t cover the cost of removing a tree or branches that haven’t fallen, it’s smart to have a professional come prune or remove a problem tree before it causes damage.
Did You Know These Tree Facts?
- Each year, 100 trees can remove 53 tons of carbon dioxide and 430 pounds of other air pollutants.
- Strategically placed trees can help you save up to 56 percent on annual air-conditioning costs.
- Evergreens that block winter winds can reduce heating costs by 3 percent.
- Healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value.
Source: U.S. Forest Service
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