Severe wind, lightning storms, and other types of stormy weather can uproot a neighbor’s tree and cause it to fall on your home. Such an incident can be scary, let alone the extensive damage it can cause to your home.
What Should I Do if a Neighbor’s Tree Falls on My House?
After the dust and storm, in this case, settles, an important question now hangs in the air. Who will pay for the damage the falling tree caused to my property? The answer to this question may seem simple, but the actual answer may surprise or even upset you. Legally, the person who pays for the damage depends on where the fallen tree has landed.
Fortunately, most home insurance companies will cover the damage to your property and the tree removal cost. Homeowners’ insurance policies cover fallen tree removal and damage, depending on the cause of the tree’s falling and the resultant damage afterward.
Proving Fallen Tree Negligence
Technically, even if the tree that has damaged your home belonged to your neighbor, you are still responsible under the Neighbors/Homeowners Policy Property Coverage. Of course, this is based on the assumption that the healthy tree fell because of an act of God, such as a storm.
If you can prove your neighbor’s negligence led to the tree falling, they (your neighbor) can be held liable. You will, however, still need proof and your neighbor’s cooperation to be credible to insurance companies. Situations where your neighbor will be proven negligent include;
- Damaged or dead tree branches or limbs hanging near or over your property.
- Dead trees that have not been dealt with over several years.
- Trees that are diseased but have been ignored.
Keep in mind that claiming your neighbor’s negligence is going onto potentially challenging grounds because your neighbor might retaliate the moment you choose to take legal action. For instance, your neighbor may try to prove that you had contributory negligence. Contributory negligence states you have a legal right to remove or prune overhanging trees and branches on the property line. And that they (your neighbors) are not solely responsible for the damage caused.
In addition, proving your neighbor’s negligence will require statements and documented proof from your other neighbors. For instance, if you have evidence that you have asked your neighbor for years to remove a diseased, damaged, or dead tree from their compound, you can prove they are liable. Confirmation from a neighbor, or any documented proof of your attempts, will strengthen your case.
Proving negligence as a general rule is typically used as a last resort when you and your neighbor have failed to agree. This is the best course of action because, in most cases, your homeowners’ insurance will still cover the damage and the tree removal cost.
So, who pays for what?
Connecticut law states that the owner of a fallen tree is legally liable for the damage caused by the fallen tree only if their negligence caused the tree to fall. And;
- The home insurance policy covers the property owner whose house was hit and damaged.
- The property owner whose automobile was hit is covered by the auto policy if they have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage helps pay for vehicle repair due to damage caused by a falling object.
- If the fallen tree should have been cut down or pruned because it was diseased or rotted, then the point of negligence can be raised. The property owner can seek to have the tree owner liable for the damage.
- Tree removal is only covered when a structure or vehicle is hit by a tree fall. Pools, however, are not covered. In other words, if a tree falls on your property with no damage caused, the cost of removal is generally not covered.
If your neighbor’s tree falls onto your property, your property insurance should cover you. Similarly, if your tree falls on a neighbor’s property, their property insurance should compensate them.
You need to check your insurance policy for specifics. Sometimes, however, an insurance company will cover the cost of tree removal if the fallen tree, for instance, is an obstacle on a driveway for other motorists.
The insurance policy coverage limits you have set will determine how much your insurance pays for tree damage. An insurance coverage limit is a maximum amount your policy pays to cover a claim. Your policy is likely to have separate coverage, that is, dwelling coverage and other structure coverage.
Dwelling coverage pays to repair your home’s structure if damaged by a covered peril. Other structure coverage helps pay for the repair of any damage to any other structures, such as the fence, shed, or garage.
Hiring a Tree Removal Specialist
Once you have submitted your claim, you will probably need to hire a tree removal specialist to remove the tree from your property. Along with other necessary repairs you need to be done, tree removal is one of them.
When a large storm hits an area, some tree professionals work directly with insurance companies. In most instances, though, you will need to contact each and make separate individual arrangements.
You should always source and hire a bonded, insured, and licensed tree specialist to remove a tree from your property. Licensed tree specialists have more experience in tree removal because they have been in the industry for a long time. An insured and bonded tree specialist will cover you if an employee gets hurt on your premises or if you need to make a claim on a company.
Looking for the best tree specialist company near you? Welcome To USA Tree Experts LLC
USA Tree Experts LLC is the best family-owned, operated, licensed, and insured tree-specialist company in Southington, Connecticut, and the surrounding areas, serving residential and commercial property owners. Our arborists are trained, licensed, and insured professionals who specialize in tree trimming and removal.
For more information on tree removal and trimming, or to request a free estimate, please contact us at 145 Royal Oak Dr., Southington, CT 06489. You can also reach us by phone at 860-877-5803.