Homeowners FAQs 

A tree in my yard just fell on my neighbor's house - WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

Did you ever wonder what would happen when your tree falls on your neighbor's house during a wind storm? Who would be responsible? Will your homeowner's insurance policy cover their damage? This would be considered an act of nature and is not covered unless it was caused by your negligence.  This particular question is one that comes up often since we have so many hail and wind storms during this time of the year.

As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to maintain your property, including your trees to ensure that any dead limbs or dead trees are cut off or cut down.

Also, if you notice that your neighbor has some dead trees and or dead tree limbs, make sure you speak with them about the situation so they are aware of the issue and ask if they are planning on cutting them down. If you do not receive a positive response from them, then the next step would be to send them an official letter stating "they may be held liable for all of the damages if the tree falls on your home since they failed to take action and liability would be paid under their homeowners liability coverage and the claim might increase their renewal premium." I would keep a copy for your file and send your insurance agent a copy.

If a neighbor's healthy tree falls on your home, your homeowners insurance policy would respond to damage and debris removal. The same is true for their policy if one of your healthy trees falls on your neighbor's home.  Again, your next door neighbor cannot be responsible for damages done by their healthy trees to your home. However, helping each other clean up would be very neighborly.

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First posted in a BLOG article from Benton White Insurance - released on July 16, 2015.

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