When a tree falls

This might interest folks… It happened to one of my Rental Homes when the neighbors tree fell on it.

When I called my Allstate agent I got the bad news.
My insurance would cover it but it was less than my deductible.

House damage was minimal but removing the tree was going to be big. The solution is that you cut the tree at the property line and each party remove their part of the tree… Really!!!

When I complained to my agent that this seemed unfair (in my opinion). It so happened that my neighbor also had Allstate.

The agent then did her magic… they overpaid my Neighbor to remove the whole tree… keeping 2 customers happy.

You never know till you ask!!!

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I’ve had this issue for years. Neighbor’s [renters] many trees have fallen over time and one did significant damage to our shared fence. Luckily I’m on good terms with the owner who lives three hour away.

He agreed to simply split the cost of repair, which was a painless solution. During this process, we noticed three very tall trees with thick limbs overhanging my roof. They have shed limbs over time but thankfully not big limbs. However, there are also huge limbs that could fall.

Talked to insurance agent and he said potential roof repair damage would be mine. The exception would be if I had documents that proved I had warned the owner.

Once again, long time relationship with owner paid off. We agreed to split the cost of removing his trees. It cost thousand$$$ but still less than major roof repairs.

Having just gone through IAN, there were a number of trees downed in our neighborhood. Some were getting insurance money to remove and some not. I asked my company, and was told that if the tree damaged the house the removal would be covered but if it didn’t fall during the storm but could during the coming days/week/month or so, removal would not be covered even though it was clearly dead and in danger of falling. If it fell on the house, but NO damage to the house, the removal would not be covered.

Legal liability for a fallen tree depends on prior evidence of wood rote and / other processes that will cause the tree to fall.

In the absence of that evidence it is an act of nature and the victim is own their own.

Not a lawyer.

As a casualty claims adjuster for 40 years I handled lots of fallen tree claims.

What about one damaged in a major storm such as IAN - where there was no prior damage? Obvious act of nature. -The tree was in good health with new shoots that got broken and the heart of the palm was broken in the wind and tree assured to die - arborist confirmed the heart was gone and palm dead.

No liability for acts of nature unless there was clear visible evidence that the tree would fall before it fell.

IOW: The insurance company wrote the contract, they have lotsa lawyers and the insured needs to read and understand the fine print. Problem is, most people don’t do that.

I was making reference to civil law, not policy terms.

The house nextdoor has many trees while my lot does not.
Years ago, the owner and I split the cost to thin the canopy/cut off dead branches for trees near our roofs. The last owner would not do anything, so had the canopy thinned where the trees cross into my yard.
Now there’s a new owner – I hope they will agree to split the cost of maintaining the trees.

:slightly_smiling_face: then substitute the word “lobbyists” where I wrote “lawyers” and you’ll have the reason many (most?) insurance claims are turned down. It also explains why insurance companies have the funds to build those impressive skyscrapers.

yes, I was a commercial property & casualty underwriter for large P&C carriers for over 30 years; a year or so ago a large tree on my friend’s property in Tustin, CA fell on and crushed the fence owned by an HOA…

I thought for sure that my friend’s homeowner’s policy would quickly jump in to pay for the repair of the HOA’s fence. To my surprise the adjuster for my firend’s home owner’s policy said that it was an “act of God, or act of nature”, and that the HOA (or its property insurer) would have to pay for the repair of its own fence.

I thought that it would be looked at similarly to a strict liability situation: you owned the tree (it was on your property), part of the tree collapsed and crushed a neighbor’s fence; therefore, that is demonstrative of improper tree maintenance and you (the owner of the tree are automatically liable), I was wrong !

But as it turned out, my friend’s insurance did pay for the repair of the fence, because my friend (who also has an insurance background) argued with her carrier’s adjuster and they ( her carrier) did pay for repair of the HOA’s fence.

The fact that you may not be legally responsible to repair a neighbor’s property (and the fact that your liability insurer will not immediately jump in and pay for your neighbors damaged property) is one thing.

However, if you are sued by your neighbor for the damage caused by your tree, then I would assume that your liability policy WILL provide you with a defense, even though you might not be legally liable for the damage caused by your tree. I am not aware of any specific “Tree Exclusions” in liability polices.

I did not make my point clearly; I felt that my friend’s policy would pay for the damage to the HOA’s fence; my friend is not a member of the HOA; I felt that my friend’s Liability policy would pay for damage to the HOA’s fence, not her property policy.

I felt it was a legal liability issue and I was convinced (but I was wrong) that her liability carrier would quickly see that my friend was liable and that it (her carrier) would quickly throw money at the situation right away (to fix the fence).