Common questions regarding homeowners insurance and tree liability

After a hurricane or any kind of severe storm there is a chance trees will fall, and it is important for you to know who is responsible for the cost of removal.

 How does my homeowners insurance apply if a tree on my property falls on my house, fence, shed or other structure? Unless there is negligence involved, your homeowner’s insurance policy is responsible for covering the cost of damage to your property. If the tree blocks a driveway or wheelchair ramp it will also be covered by a homeowners policy. If a tree falls in your yard, but does not hit any structures then you will have to cover the cost of removal.

What should I do if my neighbors’ tree is leaning, dead and/or unhealthy and appears to be at risk of falling? If a tree in your neighbors’ yard appears to be at risk of falling on a structure on your property, it is advised that you communicate your concerns with your neighbor. In the event that your neighbor does not respond to verbal communication, providing written notification may be the next best options, as it can be documented in the event that the tree does in fact fall. If a dead or unhealthy tree does fall it is the responsibility of the tree’s owner to cover the cost of removal no matter where it falls.

Whose homeowners insurance applies if a tree from my yard falls on my neighbors’ home or other structure? If a tree located on your property falls on a structure of your neighbors (i.e. fence, shed, house, etc.), your neighbor’s homeowners insurance would apply unless you are deemed negligent. The same is also true if a tree from your neighbor’s yard damages a structure on your property. Unless your neighbor is deemed negligent, your homeowners insurance would apply.

Is tree removal included in my homeowners insurance policy? The cost of removing the tree off the damaged structure, such as your roof, will be covered; however, homeowners insurance policies will NOT pay to have the tree removed from the premises.

Review your homeowner insurance policy for further explanation. With negligence being a factor in determining whose homeowners insurance applies, there are often gray areas and incidents need to be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Contact your insurance provider with any additional questions you may have.