It’s that time of year when sunny skies can turn black in a matter of minutes and suddenly you are in the midst of a severe thunderstorm. Spring and summer are the most common times when storms can pop up quickly and without warning, trees can come crashing down on your property, car, or your neighbor’s home. Before the storm hits, there are things you should know about fallen trees and your homeowners insurance.
The question of whether homeowners insurance policy provides coverage for fallen trees comes up every spring and summer, so keep in mind there are a multitude of factors to consider when determining whether coverage would apply. Below are some of the common guidelines to keep in mind, but not limited to:
Consider the Cause of the Fallen Tree- Assume that a big storm hits and lightning strikes your tree, causing the tree to fall on your home. Your homeowners insurance would probably pay for the damages to your home, as well as the tree removal costs, once you have paid your deductible.
If a tree falls due to lightning and/or wind and causes damage to your home or property, typically there would be coverage. However, if a tree falls due to rot or neglect and causes damage to your property, coverage will most likely be excluded. Keep in mind that coverage limits do apply, so you will always need to discuss your insurance/coverage with your N.C. independent insurance agent to determine how much coverage (if any) your policy provides for damage caused by a fallen tree.
Factor in Damages- If there is no damage as a result of the fallen tree, then typically there would be no coverage for the costs to remove the tree. However, if your tree falls into the street, you still need to notify your N.C. independent insurance agent for further instruction. Your city may be responsible for clearing the tree from the street, however, any remaining tree clean up and/or removal on YOUR property is YOUR responsibility.
Consider Damages To Your Neighbor’s Property- If your otherwise “healthy” tree falls on your neighbor’s property, causing damage(s), then you, typically, are not responsible and your neighbor would need to contact his/her own homeowners insurance company. There would have to be “neglect” shown on your behalf to be considered responsible for any damages caused by your tree.
Likewise, if your neighbor’s tree falls onto your property as a result of a covered peril, causing damages, then you would file under your homeowners insurance.
Guidelines When Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim for a Fallen Tree
- Contact Your Independent Insurance Agent- When you notify your agent, provide as many details as possible, such as cause/extent of damage, the condition of the tree prior to the accident, and the weather conditions at the time.
- Document the Damages With Photos- Take as many photos as possible to document the cause and extent of the damages. However, stay safe when doing so, and stay away from downed power lines and other hazardous situations.
- Be Prepared to Pay Your Deductible– A deductible is the amount declared on your homeowners insurance policy that you are responsible for when a covered loss occurs. This amount is your share before any claim payment is distributed.
Every Situation is Different
If you experience a fallen tree on your property, or if one of your trees falls on your neighbor’s property, contact your independent insurance agent immediately. Every situation is different and different insurance policies may provide coverage on some situations and exclude others. It all depends on the specifics of your particular N.C. homeowners insurance policy. Call Paramount Insurance Agency today at 866-869-3335 with any questions regarding fallen trees and your homeowners insurance.