Q: Let's say a neighbor's tree falls during a storm and crashes into your home. Who pays for the damage? This isn't meant to be a 'trick' question, but it may seem like one.
A: Even though it's your neighbor's tree, it's your responsibility. If the tree was in good health and it came down due to an act of God, nobody can be held responsible for that.
- The property owner whose house is hit by a tree is covered under their homeowner's policy.
- The property owner whose vehicle is hit by a tree is covered under their auto policy — but only if they have "comprehensive" coverage on the vehicle.
- If the tree that falls is rotted or diseased and should have been pruned or cut down, then a question of negligence can be raised. The property owner may seek to hold the tree owner liable for damages.
- Tree removal is only covered if a structure or vehicle is hit by the falling tree. NOTE: Pools are not covered. So, if a tree falls only on your lawn or garden — with no damage to your home or vehicle —the cost of tree removal, damage to lawns, gardens or damage to pools are generally not covered. Check your policy for specifics.
- If a tree on your property falls into your neighbor's yard without damage to their home or vehicle, tree removal is not covered by either party's insurance. You and your neighbor must discuss who pays for cleanup.
Got a question about tree damage liability?
Contact Connecticut Insurance Exchange at 860 666-5443 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be happy to review your policy and exposures to make sure you are properly covered.