Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Damage To Neighbors Property

A tree falls in a neighbour's yard: Who is responsible?

There are many benefits to having trees on your property, including landscaping, shade, and the production of oxygen. That being said, sometimes these trees fall over and cause damage. This could be from a natural disaster, like a hurricane, lightning, or windstorm. Or, due to not being maintained properly, a tree could follow over because of disease, rot, and overgrowth. Regardless, a tree and/or its branches might cause damage to someone else’s property: their house, vehicle, and other valuable assets. Many homeowners assume that if the tree was grown on their property, they are responsible for the damage done to their neighbours’ property. This is valid thinking, but it is not always the case, depending on the person’s insurance policy. So, a question that should be answered is “who pays for a tree falling on neighbours’ property?” This article provides some basic information about that question.

Determining Who Is Responsible

Knowing who owns the tree is the first step in determining who is liable for damage caused by the tree or its branch(es). A good rule of thumb is to see where the trunk is. If it’s on your property, you’re responsible for the damage; if the trunk of the tree is on your neighbours’ property, they are. Now, does one of the parties' insurance cover tree damage to your neighbour's property? The short answer is yes. If the tree was rooted on your property, your neighbour should submit a claim with his or her own property insurance company. Usually, if the tree fell by an act of nature and through no fault of your own, the neighbour’s policy will kick in. The company will handle damages when the damages were not the responsibility of you, the homeowner.
does homeowners insurance cover tree damage to neighbors property

When You Could Be Held Responsible

Although the neighbour’s policy provides coverage in most cases, there are some instances where you, the homeowner, could be held liable. If you know that the tree is unstable, it is up to you to take preventative steps. If you knew that the tree was dying and it causes harm, you will most likely be seen as at fault. If you cut down a tree on your own, and it (or a branch) destroys something of your neighbour’s, you will be held liable. Even if a storm causes it to fall but you knew that the tree was unstable, your insurance will likely need to cover it. Your company also investigate if you are sued by the neighbour. The insurer will pay the policy limit, then you will be held financially responsible. Neighbours can also submit liability claims against homeowner policies.

who pays for tree falling on neighbors property

Homeowners Insurance and Tree Damage

Another good question to ask is, “does homeowners insurance cover tree damage to a neighbour's property?” As mentioned, your insurance company will step in if you are found liable for the damage done by the falling tree. Also, the company will defend you if the neighbour decides to sue you. That being said, most policies have coverage limits, and they will only pay up to that amount. After that cap, the homeowner needs to pay out of pocket for damages that go beyond the policy’s limit. So, carefully read through your policy. See if your insurance company covers all claims or only those in which you were not found negligent. If the damage is minimal, and you want to avoid increasing your premium, consider paying for the damages on your own.