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As a property owner, one must take steps to ensure that trees located on his/her property are not hazardous to others.
If it's already too late for that, and a tree lands on a part of your property, who gets the bill?
For most of us, this should be covered under a homeowner insurance policy, whether the branches are from your trees or your neighbor's. If you have all perils coverage, you may also claim for any damages caused to your car as well.
In the case of a car
Whether it's your tree, a neighbor's tree, or just a random tree, if it falls on your vehicle, it's an auto insurance claim. This kind of accident falls under the "comprehensive" part of the policy, because you didn't hit the tree...the tree hit you (or your car, for that matter.)
It's typically treated as an "act of God," according to most insurance agencies.
Your car could be sitting in your driveway and get crushed by a neighbor's falling tree. The cost would still fall to your auto comprehensive coverage- if you have it, in which case you would have to pay the out-of-pocket insurance deductible.
But theres always the possibility that the neighbor might have already known that the tree was in danger of falling. You might have forewarned them about your concerns and they decided to do nothing about it.
In those situations, your car insurer could try and get the neighbor's insurance to pay the claim, including your deductible.
In the case of your home
As with your car, if a tree has fallen on your house, it doesn't matter whose tree it was, unless there is a question of neglect from your neighbor prior to the incident.
Damage to a house or other structure would be covered by home owner's insurance, with coverage kicking in after your out-of-pocket deductible.
Insurance companies are known for hiking up people's premiums if they file a homeowners insurance claim, so that's always worth thinking about.
Here are related questions:
You will have to clean this up yourself, even if the branches come from your neighbor's tree. Most insurance policies do not pay for this type of damage.
If you think the branches of your neighbor's tree are too close to your home, you can cut them back to the property line, as long as you do not injure the tree. You cannot cut down the tree or enter your neighbor's land to trim branches without permission.
The lessons are as follows:
•If you are suspicious that a tree is sick or dying, get the advice from an arborist before doing anything or warning your neighbor. You can find an arborist at www,treejobs4less.com
•If your tree branches fall into your neighbor's yard, in my opinion, you should be a good neighbor and assist in their removal;
•Check your insurance policy to make sure you are covered, should this ever happen again.
by John Williams
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