A storm rolls through the area and your neighbor's tree falls into your yard and hits your house. While you immediately jump into action to prevent further damage, one question keeps coming up, whose Homeowners Insurance is responsible for this claim, yours or your neighbor's?
In Most Cases, responsibility for the damages would fall on your homeowners insurance, which would step in and ensure that the tree was removed and damages to your home, fence, and / or yard were properly addressed. While this may seem unfair and a bit confusing to the average homeowner, this does significantly speed up the resolution of your claim and the repairs that may be necessary by allowing your Insurance Carrier to address the damages immediately without waiting for input or documentation from your neighbor's Insurance Company.
There Are Of Course Some Exceptions, such as supportable neglect on the part of your neighbor, referred to as "un-neighborly negligence" in many Insurance Policies. The purpose of this provision is to address instances where the tree has been neglected and allowed to rot or otherwise become a hazard. Unfortunately, supporting negligence on the part of your neighbor can be difficult, requiring photos documenting the tree's condition, copies of correspondence asking that your neighbor address the condition of the tree, etc.
What's Covered varies by Insurance Company and Policy, so we recommend consulting your Insurance Agent or Adjuster with coverage questions specific to your claim. In most cases, there is a cap of sometimes as little as $ 500.00 for the actual tree removal. The damages to your home or structure would then be addressed addressed as would any other property damage under the policy. Damage to landscaping is generally limited to direct damage caused by the fallen tree, and is limited to a percentage of the insured value of your home. Further limits may be placed on tarping the roof or personal property such as grills that may have been damaged when the tree fell. While Insurance coverages can be confusing on the simplest of claims, fallen tree claims do add additional complexity. For this reason, we always recommend contacting your Local Insurance Agent so that they may explain the coverages available to you and any caps that may apply.
In The Event That Water Intrusion Results From The Damage To Your Home, the interior Water Mitigation and Repairs will be covered under your homeowners policy as well, allowing you to contact a Local Mitigation and Restoration Company that will be able to ensure that the property is dried out properly and thoroughly and the walls and ceilings are repaired as necessary. If you experience any water intrusion as a result of the fallen tree, it is important to not skip this step, as over time, Water Damage can result in further structural damage and Mold growth.
If The Tree Hit Your Car, you may be wondering what insurance coverage would now apply, your homeowners policy or your auto policy. Unfortunately, this would be a job for your auto insurance, requiring a second claim in order to address both your home and auto. If the vehicle was parked at the time the damage was incurred, this would fall under your comprehensive coverage, which is treated differently than collision by many Insurance Companies. Your Local Insurance Agent will be able to explain any impact a comprehensive claim may have on your policy going forward.
In Cases Where The Tree Doesn't Hit Anything, it just falls into your yard for instance, there is often no coverage available under your homeowners policy. In cases such as this, removal of the tree and any repairs necessary to landscaping could unfortunately be your responsibility.
We hope you found this information helpful! If we can be of any service, please do not hesitate to Contact Us!
"We're Here for You" ®
*This information is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not intended as legal advice.
Interested in older news stories? Please see our Archive.