Out on a Limb

If you neglect to maintain your trees, you could be on the hook if they cause property damage.

Fallen tree lying on top of a damaged house Shutterstock/HarrisonJeffs

We all know that what goes up must come down, and that includes all those beautiful trees in your yard—and also that unhealthy one that’s leaning over the property line in the direction of your neighbor’s house. You’ve been meaning to get an arborist to look at it, but you keep putting it off.

Maybe if you knew what your liability would be for a fallen tree, you’d take quicker action. Here’s what you need to know about insurance and tree care and maintenance services. 

Who pays for the removal of your fallen tree and any damage it may have caused? 

Icon of a house in a shield next to the word “Insurance”

When a healthy tree falls or drops a limb due to a storm, insurance will pay for any damage it causes—minus a deductible. If the property that’s damaged is yours, you’ll need to file a claim with your insurance provider. If a neighbor’s car, home or other structure is damaged, their insurance will pay. 

Icon of a hand holding cash next to the word “You”

Damage caused by a dead, diseased or neglected tree will not typically be covered by insurance. Whether the damage is to your property or to your neighbor’s, the liability (and cost of repairs) will be on you.  

Icon of a magnifying glass and house next to the word “It depends”

When a tree falls harmlessly in your yard, you’ll likely have to pay out of pocket to have it removed unless the fallen tree blocks a driveway, in which case insurance may pay to remove it, minus your deductible.  

Arborist in a bucket truck cutting branches with a chainsaw iStock

Take a preventive approach to tree care services.

Being proactive with tree maintenance can save you money in the longer run because you can identify and solve little issues before they become a bigger problem. To that end, have a professional arborist inspect your trees and keep them trimmed and in good health. Trees should be inspected for dead wood, cracks in branches or the trunk, decay, and root issues. 

Tree branches should not be near or tangled in electrical wiring. Be sure to have a professional clear limbs in contact with power lines and electrical posts.

Take immediate action if the tree is a clear danger to a neighbor’s property—particularly if your neighbor has documentation, such as a written request for you to prune or remove it. 

Review your home and auto insurance policies with your agent. It’s important to know what situations your insurance covers, how much coverage is provided and what your deductible would be.

Coverage is subject to all policy terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations. Subject to underwriting eligibility requirements. Insurance underwritten by one of the following companies: Auto Club Insurance Association, MemberSelect Insurance Company, Auto Club Group Insurance Company, Auto Club Property-Casualty Insurance Company, Auto Club South Insurance Company, Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida, The Members Insurance Company, Universal Insurance Company, CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer or non-affiliated insurance companies.

This information is being provided for general informational purposes only. The Auto Club
Group does not assume any liability in connection with providing this information.


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