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Fallen trees on your property – who is responsible?



We discussed previously fallen trees and what coverage the insurance policy of Ohio homeowners provides for repair and remediation.

In this post we will get into the heart of many arguments about fallen trees – who is responsible for the tree when it falls? This is very common when properties and farms are located next to each other.

We will discuss two real claims, their results and dig deep into the insurance liability part of the insurance liability to explain the reason for these results.

Requirement Example 1

A customer called with this question: “I think I know the answer to this, but wanted to call anyway. The strong winds knocked my neighbor's tree in my shed. Her homeowners insurance liability would pay to fix the shed, right? "

Imagine his surprise when I replied" No, the tree fell in your garden, so your homeowner pays to remove the tree and fix the shed. " SILENCE. I think I even heard crickets.

Then the spraying started- “What? How can that be? It's her tree. That should be her responsibility. "

I understand that. I really do. It seems pretty unfair that my client's policy would be required to pay the claim, right? But first you need to understand how homeowners insurance liability works to understand why this played out the way it did. Read on for the reason… ..

Homeowners insurance and the concept of negligence

The basis for most liability insurance claims is the concept of negligence (insurance is, after all, a legal agreement). Negligence consists of four parts, which are: Obligation, Crime against customs, Related party and damages. Let's go backwards through the previous example to see how it would apply:

Damage- Yes, the shed was damaged because the tree fell on it.
Proximal cause- High wind blew over the tree, which in turn caused damage to the shed.
I lump the last two together ̵

1; Duty Owed and Breach of Duty. This is where the logic breaks. Who had a duty to make sure that the wind did not blow so hard? The neighbour? Obviously not. She had no control over the weather (and I guess it still doesn't). So if she has no obligation, she can not violate that duty. Therefore, you can not hold her responsible. And the insurance contract in most homeowners usually says something like this: "We will pay what we are legally obligated to pay …".

Those who want to collect under Mother Nature's policy, try it in every way. Please let me know how it works.

So when negligence cannot be proven, the only way to get the damage repaired is by collecting your own homeowners insurance. Or if the damage is not much, you can pay out of pocket.

Statement Example No. 2 – What happens if negligence can be proven?

A neighbor's tree fell on our customer's garage. There had been previous discussions between the neighbors that the tree was dead, but still the tree owner did nothing to prevent the situation from occurring. There were some heated discussions and we had to calm them both down. For situations like this, let your insurance take care of you. They will take statements from all parties involved and if it is discovered that the tree owner knew the tree was dying or sick, but did nothing about it, they will likely file a subrogation claim with the neighbor's homeowners insurance company. Your insurance company will claim compensation from the other insurance company for paid claims. If the other person is actually held liable, all damages can hopefully be recovered, including your deductible.

The morality of history

If a tree is on your property, it is YOUR responsibility. Period. If it is in your house, it is twice as important to get rid of it ASAP. It is NOT the time to fight with the neighbor – call your insurance company / agent and report the claim so that the repair and decontamination process can begin.

IF you suspect negligence, be sure to mention it in your claim. An investigation will take place, as mentioned above, to determine whether negligence exists or not.

Do You Need to Discuss Your Homeowners Insurance Policy in Ohio? We would like to review your current coverage and see how we can help. Call us at (937) 592-4871 or fill out the form below.


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