If you’re the owner of a house and there’s a diseased tree on the property, you’re unlikely to be covered for its removal. Diseased trees are the homeowner’s responsibility and should be treated or removed as soon as possible, or you may also be liable for any damage if the tree falls during a storm.
Homeowner’s Insurance and the Great Tree Debate
Insurance. It’s the bane of everyone’s life but at the same time it can be a literal lifesaver.
Nobody likes to pay their premiums, but we all breathe a sigh of relief if the worst happens and we’re covered.
As much as we don’t like to pay our insurance insurers really don’t relish the idea of paying out after an accident or event.
So, you need to make sure that when you take out a policy, it’s going to work for you.
But not only that, you need to make sure that you uphold your end of the bargain, too.
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In this instance, we’re talking trees.
It’s always lovely to live in a place with plenty of foliage.
Trees look beautiful, offer shade in the summer, and conveniently keep out nosy neighbors.
They can bear delicious fruit, house birds, and provide hours of fun for little ones when Dad gets around to building a treehouse.
But they can also be an insurance nightmare, so let’s have a look and when you’re likely to be covered, and when you’re not.
When Your Homeowner’s Insurance Will and Won’t Cover Your Trees
Every insurance company is different, so there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to individual items.
If you’re in doubt, it’s always recommended that you call the company, explain the issue or question, and get their professional advice.
Trees can cause plenty of damage in storms, earthquakes, and accidents so it makes sense they’re an item that insurers will cover, but there are always caveats, gray areas, and a certain level of personal responsibility leveled at the homeowner.
If a healthy tree falls over during a storm and falls on your house, your homeowner’s insurance will cover you, minus your deductible.
If a healthy tree from next door falls over onto your house in a storm, then your insurance company will pay out, although there may be an excess payment due from next door.
If you’re otherwise healthy tree falls onto your lawn in a storm but causes no damage, you’re not likely to get any help with removal as there was no structural damage caused.
But if the same tree was to fall over your driveway, then insurance would cover removal because the property is considered ‘unusable.’ Once again, though, check with your provider and read the policy.
A Little Interesting Note
Did you know that if lightning strikes your tree, then your insurance would cover its removal even if there was no damage to your house? This is because lightning is considered a ‘covered peril,’ a definition that also includes fire, aircraft damage, vandalism, and even riots.
And yet, the same tree wouldn’t be removed if it fell due to snow, ice, or a wind storm.
Ah, the wonderful world of insurance.
I Have a Diseased Tree.
Then, the best thing you can do is remove it.
You could try and treat it. After all, it may have a disease that can be curable much in the same way as disease is cured in humans. In order to know what’s going on with your tree in the first place, it’s a good idea to call in an arborist, or a tree expert.
But if you’re not sure, or don’t want to spend the cash on an arborist, then it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Diseased trees that become rotten are unstable weapons and in the wrong circumstances can cause huge amounts of damage, or even fatal accidents, which no amount of insurance money could ever replace.
If you spot a diseased tree in a neighbor’s garden, tell them about it.
The consequences could be dire not only for them but for you, if the tree should happen to fall into your property.
Take photographs of the tree and send a certified letter, if necessary, to prove you have alerted them to the problem. Most neighbors will be grateful you brought it to their attention but it’s better to protect yourself, too.
Insurance is there to give us peace of mind.
But you’ll have even more peace of mind if you remove a diseased tree before you even have to think about calling in the insurers.