What If My Neighbor's Tree Falls On My Property?Wed Sep 12, 2018
This is one of those questions we often get. When a tree falls and causes damage to someone's property, most people automatically think the person's home insurance that owns the tree pays. But that's not always the case. While each policy is different, there are factors that can play a role in any claim. For example, liability can be an issue if the tree has not been properly maintained and is diseased or dead. The best thing is for both you and your neighbor to report the damage to your insurance companies and allow adjusters to review the claim.
However, when a tree is in good health and falls from severe weather, the owner of the damaged property is typically covered under their own homeowners policy. Likewise, if a tree hits your car, typically that damage is covered by the comprehensive coverage of your car insurance policy, but only if you've opted to have it.
Either way, there are immediate steps you should take. These are also appropriate if your tree falls on your own house or property.
Steps to take after a tree causes damage:
- If there are any injuries or utility emergencies, call 911!
- Talk with your neighbor and explain you are reporting the incident to your insurance company and tell them they should do the same.
- Report the claim to NNINS. You can do so by calling our 24/7 claims hotline 1- 877-968-7252 or going online.
- Take pictures and/or video with your cell phone. The more the better, from up close to further away and before any efforts have been made to clean up the damage and remove the tree.
- If the damage is to your home or car, take immediate measures to protect your property from further damage. Contact a reputable licensed contractor for those repairs. Save any receipts for supplies or work.
- If your home is unlivable, secure your property as much as possible, including boarding up windows and tarping open damage. You may contract this work as well but speak to your adjuster or claims representative first. Save all receipts. Relocate to a safe place and save all receipts for living accomodations, gas, food, and other neccessities.
- Prepare a written inventory of damaged property to match pictures.
- Do not dispose of any damaged property until your adjuster has visited.
- If the tree belongs to you, get written estimates from a reputable certified tree removal service.
- Avoid drive-by solicitations for cheap tree removal- this is very common after a severe weather event in the area.
- Continue communication with your adjuster about the progress of your claim and provide any requested documentation.
Whatever the circumstances, we'll help you through it. You can try to prevent damage during severe weather by checking on your own trees and doing regular maintenance. It's also a good idea to build rapport with your neighbors to ease communication about concerning trees in your neighborhood.