by Melissa Gilbo, CISR on Jun 24, 2014
I love this time of year, driving around and seeing all the flowers, bushes and trees in bloom. I think we can all agree that trees are beautiful and are a wonderful addition to your home's landscape, but they can also cause real problems if a there is heavy wind and a tree falls and it lands on your neighbor's property and damages their home.
We get this question alot -"Who is legally responsible for paying to repair that damage?" If you answered, "I am," you would be wrong. Your neighbor would have to submit a claim to their homeowner's policy insurer to pay for any necessary repairs. Wind and lightning are generally covered perils in a standard HO3 homeowner's policy, or they are included in a homeowner's all-risk policy.
The only instance in which you would be required to pay for the damage to your neighbor's property caused by your fallen tree is when the damage resulted from your negligence. You could be held liable if your tree was dying or already dead before it fell on your neighbor's property, and you did nothing to prevent property damage. In this case, your insurance carrier would have to cover the repairs. In addition, if your neighbor files a lawsuit against you alleging negligence, your insurer would be required to defend you and investigate the claim.
Of course, the best way to avoid a situation like this is to prevent it from happening. So we suggest if you have a tree on your property that looks unhealthy, consider having it checked by an arborist and, if necessary, removed before it falls. If you have an questions please feel free to give our office a call 978-352-8000 or email us at info [at] georgetowninsurance [dot] com.
Please Note: Damage to your automobile by a fallen tree is covered by the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance policy.
Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com
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