When Your Neighbor’s Tree Falls, Who’s Responsible?

tree fell on house

A beautiful landscape with mature trees is picturesque. That is until a neighbor’s tree falls in your yard. Blame it on high winds or lack of upkeep, but accidents happen. And tree damage can quickly create tension among neighbors if you don’t know how to handle the situation.

Use these tips to avoid arguments and have that messy cleanup handled properly.

Who’s at Fault?

Unfortunately, when a neighbor’s tree falls in your yard, it’s your responsibility to clean it up – – in some circumstances. A tree falling unexpectedly can happen from severe weather like a hurricane or storm. Or, it can happen due to neglect.

When It’s Weather-Related

Exterior wind damage is responsible for some home insurance claims. Substantial rains can soak roots and topple mature trees making them highly susceptible to winds. In this case, the owner of the tree is not responsible for damage to neighboring properties.

If your neighbor’s tree falls in your yard, contact your insurance company. If your tree falls into a neighbor’s yard, they should contact their insurance provider.

When Its a Dead or Sick Tree

If your neighbor’s tree falls in your yard and the tree was dead or sick, contact their insurance company. Likewise, if you have a dead or sick tree that falls into their yard, contact your insurance provider.

Steps to Filing a Claim:

If you need to file a claim:

  • Call your home insurance company. Explain that a tree has fallen. Ask to start a claim.
  • Your home insurance will cover any structural repairs and cover the costs to remove the tree. They may help with any sustained damage. You will have to pay your deductible first.
  • If the tree damaged a car, contact your auto insurance provider to cover the repairs.
  • Be prepared. With tree damage, some insurance providers only cover the costs to remove the tree and that might total $500 to $1,000. The total costs to remove the tree, however, might be higher so shop around (to pay less out-of-pocket).

Tip: Stay on good terms with your neighbors. Agree to split the costs for fallen tree removal for either property.

Routine Tree Maintenance

As a homeowner, you’re responsible for pruning the trees on your property. To avoid being liable for damages from a diseased or dead tree falling:

  • Have any dead or sick trees removed annually with tree maintenance.
  • To reduce liability, have any tree limbs removed if they hang over your property line.
  • Remove tree limbs that hang over your home or cars. Why? The insurance can deny a claim if there’s evidence the tree was sick or damaged.

Tip: If you see a dead or sick tree on a neighbor’s property, take photos and alert them to it. This can substantiate your claim if the tree eventually falls on your property.

Shopping for the Best Homeowners Insurance Rates?

With trees, accidents happen. But preventive maintenance can reduce liability. If a tree falls on your property, stay calm and contact your insurance provider. Reach out to your neighbor if you see a sick or dead tree hanging over your property and monitor the condition of your own trees. Split the costs for dead tree removal to keep tensions down. Happy neighbors make better neighbors!

With RateSupermarket.ca, you can compare costs for home insurance from the best insurance providers in Canada. Shop for home insurance today!

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Home Insurance 101

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