Having a tree around your home offers several benefits to homeowners. Trees help to beautify the home, improve air quality, serve as windbreakers, generate some level of heat during winter, and many more. As beneficial as trees are, they can cause damages and liability when big branches break off or when the entire tree falls. If any of these happens, the fallen tree or branches need to be removed by a professional Gresham’s trusted tree removal company before it causes more damage. The question now is, who will foot the bill for hiring a professional tree removal company and cover the cost of damages caused by the fallen tree? Read on to learn more about who should take responsibility for a fallen tree. 

How To Determine Who Is Responsible

To determine who is responsible for a fallen tree, you should consider the following;

How The Tree Fell

There are numerous variables that might cause a tree to fall, some of which are just beyond our control, while others are entirely preventable with appropriate tree maintenance practice. The most common unplanned situations that can cause a tree to fall are natural environmental happenings such as; hurricanes, strong wind, thunderstorms, snowstorms, heavy rain, and other unforeseen natural occurrences. In addition, acts of negligence can also cause a tree to fall. Some of these acts of negligence include failing to check the tree for illness or disease, failing to prune or trim the branches correctly, and more.

If the tree fell as a result of natural causes, additional factors must be considered to determine who’s liable for the fallen tree. 

Who Owns The Tree

If you reside in a neighborhood with many trees, choosing the person responsible for the tree can be tricky. Firstly, a tree is regarded to be yours if its trunk grows within the confines of your land. If the trunk of the tree is rooted on your property, it belongs to you regardless of how much of it grows into your neighbor’s yard. 

Furthermore, you and your neighbor jointly own and are responsible for a tree whose trunk grows directly along the boundary of both properties; such trees are often referred to as boundary trees.

So if the tree is yours and it falls within the boundaries of your property, it will be your obligation to remove the tree or to make arrangements for its removal. If the tree is yours, but it fell into your neighbor’s property, it’s still your responsibility to remove the tree. However, be sure to speak to your neighbor before proceeding with the removal. Also, if a boundary tree falls into either your property or your neighbor’s, you’ll liaise with your neighbor to make the necessary arrangement for its removal. 

Does My Homeowners Insurance Plan Cover Fallen Trees Removal and Associated Damages?

There are a few factors that can influence whether your homeowner’s insurance will pay for the expenses involved in fixing damages caused by a tree falling on your property, albeit doing so will inevitably depend on the insurance provider’s discretion. Your homeowner’s insurance will probably cover the expense of removal and damage if the tree fell due to natural reasons. 

If the damage is to a shared fence, your homeowner’s insurance will normally cover 50% of the damage, with your neighbor’s insurance covering the remaining 50%. 

On the other hand, your homeowner’s insurance will probably not cover any costs related to clean-up, removal, or repairs if the tree fell due to negligence, such as a lack of care and upkeep.

Who Is Liable If A Tree On A Public Property Falls Into My Property?

Community officials are liable for the tree’s removal as well as all related expenditures if a tree from a nearby park or other public property falls on your home. However, you’ll probably have to rely on your homeowner’s insurance plan to pay for any repair expenses caused by the damage. 

In conclusion, it’s never a good idea to remove a fallen tree by yourself; you could be putting yourself and your property in danger. Whoever is responsible for removing a fallen tree should reach out to a tree removal specialist. This is necessary because a fallen tree and its residual trunk are both unsafe and could cause more damage when handled by unprofessional hands. A fallen tree should be removed with the appropriate equipment and wearing the right protective gear.

Importantly, getting a professional tree removal company involved will also help you significantly with your insurance claims. Most insurance companies consider their report of the accident as the official one.

By Manali