FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013
Ever wonder how insurance works if a tree in your yard falls into your neighbor's yard and causes damage? Or, if your neighbor's tree falls into your yard? Here are some basic ways in which typical insurance policies work in these situations.
Your tree falls onto your neighbor's house causing damage: You are liable for the damage and removal of the tree if the tree was known to be diseased, or the stability of the tree was otherwise compromised. The liability section of your homeowner's insurance policy would respond to cover you in this case. If the tree was healthy, you are not liable and your neighbor's insurance would have to provide coverage for this.
Your own tree falls on your property damaging your home or automobile: The damage to your home or automobile would be covered (less the deductible). Removal of the tree would be covered up to the sublimit in your policy only if the tree was on your home, car, or blocking your driveway.
Your neighbor's tree falls onto your house: Again, if the tree was known to be diseased, or the stability of the tree was otherwise compromised, your neighbor's liability insurance would respond. If the tree was healthy, your neighbor was not negligent and neither he nor his insurance would then be responsible. Your homeowner's insurance (less your deductible) would respond.
The value of the trees themselves are rarely covered (unless damaged by fire, lightning, explosion, riot, vehicles (not owned by you) vandalism, or theft). Wind is the most frequent cause of loss for trees and wind unfortunately is not a covered peril. The sublimit for the value of the tree itself, if covered, is usually about $1,000.
***This literature is descriptive only. Actual coverage is subject to the policy as written. This information may also vary by state.