Your roof smashed by neighbor’s tree: Who pays for damage?
Anything that’s outside all year round takes a beating from wind, rain and a glorious, yet brutal, Florida sun. That includes your home, its roof and exterior components, and the car parked in the driveway. Your landscaping is not immune.
Topical Storm Debby cut a swath through Florida last month, and it took down a lot of trees. The fact that tropical weather keeps right on coming means that one weather wave can weaken a tree and the next one can finish the job. While you’re picking up fallen branches and those wads of ball moss, inspect your tree limbs and the trunk. Sometimes, they are accidents waiting to happen, as many people are dealing with tree damage in the storm’s aftermath.
Here’s a common question related to trees and insurance: If your neighbor’s tree falls on your house, whose insurance pays for the damage? The answer: Your insurance company pays. It does not matter who owns the tree. If it falls on your home or any of your insured property, you should file a claim with your insurance company. Insurance will pay to repair damage to the home and anything inside. It will also pay the cost of removing the tree, up to the limits defined in your policy. There is also a deductible that applies.
In most cases, an insurer is not going to spend time trying to figure out where the tree came from. However, if the neighbor’s tree was not properly maintained or was diseased, your insurer may try to collect from your neighbor’s insurance company – and if they are successful, you may be reimbursed for the deductible amount that you paid.
Routine tree inspection is a good preventive measure, and it’s a good idea to enlist a certified arborist to help. Here’s a video on tree maintenance and insurance that may be useful.
Another tip: Parking your car under the shade of the ol’ oak tree may not be a good idea if you don’t have comprehensive auto insurance coverage. If a limb comes down and turns your car into a pancake, you’ll ruin your ride and, certainly, your day.