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If a tree falls, who's responsible?

By: Marty Skidmore

Storms are just one cause of downed trees that damage property.  Fallen trees and branches are a significant cause of damage and power loss after a thunderstorm rolls through.  But if a neighbor's tree falls on your property and causes damage, who is responsible?

In most cases, it's your homeowner policy that will cover the cost of the damages, subject to the policy's coverage language.  At first, that may not seem fair. But reverse the situation:  What if YOUR tree fell on your neighbor's yard causing damage?  Your neighbor would be responsible for the repair and cleanup of the property.

Keep in mind that lightning or wind isn't anyone's fault; it's just an act of nature.

However, an act of nature may not always be the cause.  In those cases, responsibility may be with the tree's owner.  For example, if your do-it-yourself neighbor attempts to cut down the tree and is negligent in the process, your neighbor may be responsible for damage to your property.  In addition, if the tree was diseased and your neighbor was aware of its condition in advance, this could create a level of negligence that could make them liable.  Of course, the same would be true for you if your tree happened to fall on their property.

The best recommendation is to carefully inspect the trees on your property and take action to prevent hazardous conditions.  Consider hiring a professional arborist who can detect diseased trees or trim dead branches that could fall and cause damage.

Finally, review the coverage in your homeowners policy and check with your agent The Insurance House (618) 997-1311, if you have any questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 10:22 AM

Tags: claims
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