When a tree falls onto a neighbor’s home, the damage can be quite extensive. If the tree falls from your property, it becomes a very stressful situation. Second only to concerns over everyone’s safety, the financial onus comes into question.
You might wonder, “If my tree falls on a neighbor’s house, who is responsible?” In most cases, your neighbor’s insurance company will pay for damages. Typically, you will not be responsible for damages if the tree fell from forces of nature, such as a weather event. However, if the tree fell because of your negligence, you could be financially responsible.
If there is negligence, such as dead limbs you failed to remove yet knew about, your neighbor’s insurance company might legally pursue subrogation. This could put the cost of damages on your insurer and, possibly, on you.
Our professional tree care services can help you avoid an unpleasant situation like this. We can preserve the health of your trees and safely remove those that have become a hazard. We offer tree care services for a wide variety of tree species in Lancaster County and Chester County.
Read further to learn more about who is financially responsible when a tree falls on a neighbor’s property.
Who Pays the Costs of Fallen Tree Damage?
In most states, if your tree falls on your neighbor’s house or property and causes damage, your neighbor will have to file a claim with their property insurance company to be reimbursed for any financial loss. Your neighbor should submit a claim to his or her insurance company immediately.
However, if there is proof that you were negligent by not properly maintaining a damaged or dead tree, the financial responsibility might be placed on your insurance company. Subrogation allows an insurer to recoup costs (medical payments, repairs, etc.), including the deductible, from the at-fault insurance company. That would be your insurance company if, for instance, you ignored your neighbor’s complaints about potentially harmful limbs or dead branches that eventually caused damage.
Am I Legally Obligated To Pay for Tree Damage?
Your neighbor can take you to court to seek reimbursement for damages incurred from a tree falling on his property. Your insurance company will investigate the claim and likely defend you. If it’s determined that you were negligent, your insurance company will pay up to the policy limit for damages. You will be responsible for paying any further damages beyond what the policy limits cover. Moreover, your neighbor can submit liability claims against your homeowner’s policy.
When a Tree Falls, Are You Prepared?
This article is not intended as tax or legal advice. However, hopefully, it convinces you to go over your insurance policy with your agent and to take seriously the obligation a property owner has for tree maintenance. Tree care will not only help avoid potential issues involving neighboring properties but tree care can protect your own home from damage. Routine tree trimming and pruning will improve the health of your trees and remove hazardous limbs that may be threatening your house.