September 15, 2016

Insurance Claims 101

Dealing with an insurance claim for tree damage to your property can be stressful, but understanding a few tips and advice can help you throughout the process.

How do I know if my insurance will cover tree damage?

Basic rule of thumb, if a tree falls and damages a structure that you insure, your insurance policy will provide coverage to repair the damage, minus your deductible. This coverage includes trees that fall on insured structures as the result of natural disasters or weather. Depending on your policy, it may also cover the cost of removing the fallen tree.

If a tree in my neighbor’s yard falls into mine and causes damage, will my insurance policy cover it?

To receive coverage, the tree does not have to be on your property; it simply must damage something that you insure. Some insurance companies may deny coverage if the situation that caused the tree to fall was attributed to poor maintenance. In other words, if the tree falling could have been prevented, then the insurance company may not cover the cost of repairs. Subrogation is the process by which your insurance company may try to collect from a neighbor’s insurance company. This process often occurs when the damaging tree originated on your neighbor’s property and was not maintained properly or was in poor health.

Will my insurance cover the cost of tree removal if it falls and doesn’t damage anything?

If a tree falls down but doesn’t damage any insured objects, then the insurance company likely won’t pay for it to be removed. That will be an out-of-pocket expense for you. More often than not, damage must occur before insurance coverage begins.

If a tree from my property falls into the road, who is responsible?

Check on city or municipality clean-up services for trees that fall in the street. You may still be responsible for removing the portion that is on your property.

To help the claims process go smoothly, consider these tips:

  • Take photos of the damage from every angle and vantage point.
  • Write down the details of the scenario that caused the damage.
  • Document any communication you have had with a neighbor regarding a hazardous tree.
  • Calculate your deductible as an out-of-pocket expense.

As always, contact us if we can provide an estimate or a professional recommendation.