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Homeowners Insurance Trivia: When A Neighbor’s Tree Hits Your House, Who Pays?
Posted by Donald J. Medeiros Insurance Agency on
Believe it or not, you do. Or rather your homeowners insurance does.
Most tree-falling incidents are generally caused by “acts of God” such as ice, heavy winds, lighting, wind and snow, and are considered uncontrollable events which no one is held liable for the destruction that it creates. So, in that case, if your home is struck by a neighbor’s tree during a storm, your homeowner insurance will cover the damage done to your house, as well as any contents that are affected. So, as a general rule, the person whose insured structure (house, shed, garage, pool, etc) that is damaged should be the one to file the claim with his or her own insurer. Besides covering the structure, the home insurance policy may also pay up to $1,000 for tree removal as well. But please note that it won’t pay for its removal if the tree did not strike anything.
However, there is only one exception to this rule and that is if the tree was in poor condition and you have documented proof (a letter to your neighbor and photos of the tree) indicating your concern about its deteriorating condition. Therefore a question of negligence can be raised and you, the property owner, may seek to hold the tree owner liable. In either case, you should still notify your home insurance company and give them all the details about your claim. Your insurer may be able to collect from your neighbor’s policy on the grounds that he or she was negligent with proper care of the tree and you may be reimbursed for your deductible.
In another scenario, what if your car was damaged by a fallen tree? Here is where your auto insurance policy may provide coverage if you carry comprehensive coverage on your policy. Comprehensive coverage will pay for damages to your car body, windshields or mirrors. But, you will be responsible for paying whatever deductible your policy requires before coverage kicks in. However, if your car is damaged to the point that it costs too much to repair, your insurance company could declare the car totaled and you will be paid for its cash value.
Helpful hint: As a good measure, it is always smart sense to keep any large trees trimmed to keep them from getting too top heavy, especially pines whom greenery adds additional weight to the tree. You will find that this regular yearly maintenance will pay off in the long run, especially during some of the severe storms.
Here at Donald J. Medeiros Insurance Agency our goal is to try to help our viewers by suggesting solutions for all insurance needs. By no means can we address each reader’s specific concerns in every incident. So, we strongly advise to check with an insurance representative to address your specific needs. However, you can also contact us for any questions or concerns and we will be happy to help you. We are able to offer a complete line of personal & commercial insurance products for all of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.