5 On Your Side

Tree damage covered by insurance -- but which one?

Posted April 28, 2011 1:20 p.m. EDT

Tree after tree after tree ripped out of the ground!

Homes, cars and other property, damaged or even destroyed!

Who pays for what?

That's what Keith Walkowiak is wondering!

 

“We're very blessed and very lucky that we have very minimal damage compared to many other people,” said Walkowiak.

 

While he's thrilled the massive trees didn't actually damage his house, or harm his family, he isn't so thrilled with how the trees down behind his house could damage his budget!

 

That's because while insurance covers damage to your home from fallen trees, it only pays to remove those trees that actually hit your house, another structure or those that block a driveway or a wheelchair ramp! And it pays only up to $500!

When trees just fall in your yard, you have to foot the removal bill!

What about trees that fall on or from a neighbor's property? Walkowiak has that situation as well.

 

The answer is “it depends.”

If a "healthy" tree falls during a storm, whoever has damage, or the tree in their yard, has to pay for it.

That means if your neighbor's tree falls on your house, you and your insurance company pay for damage.

 

However, if that tree was clearly dead or dying, the owner of the tree is responsible for damage!

That's why it's a good idea to pay attention to the trees around you!

If one in your yard threatens a neighbor, get it down!

If a neighbor's tree threatens your home, let the neighbor know.

If they don't respond, send a certified letter and take pictures!

That way if it falls and does damage, you have proof they knew about i, and can file a claim with their insurance company.

 

As for cars that were hit by trees or falling debris-- they're covered by your auto insurance, if you have comprehensive coverage!

 

Walkowiak is relieved he doesn't have to deal with any of that!

 

“We're safe. Our house is safe. A tree. A yard. We'll take the situation we're in,” he said.