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Photos taken by The Agent

Sometimes it takes just one storm to uproot what was once a sturdy tree in your yard. And, after the storm passes, you may wonder if your homeowner’s insurance will help pay for the cost or removing the branches or repairing damage if the tree fell on your home.

There's hardly a topic that causes more confusion than the question of “who is responsible for damage caused by trees?”

Many people are surprised to find out that if a neighbor's tree falls on their house or car, it is their own insurance -- not their neighbor's insurance -- that pays for the damage.

"It's most often your problem, not your neighbor's," said Ron Nanosky, the owner of The Agent Insurance Services, in Boardman, OH. "You have to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance company, and the usual deductible applies”

Here are answers to other frequently asked questions about trees and insurance.

Does homeowner’s insurance cover damage caused by fallen trees on my property?

"It depends." A homeowner’s insurance policy typically protects your home and other structures, such as a fence or shed, against specific causes of loss, known as perils. Covered perils typically include damage caused by wind. So, the situation that caused the tree to fall is important. If the tree was otherwise healthy and toppled due to wind, a typical homeowner’s insurance policy may help pay to repair damage to your home or other structure on your property, the Insurance Information Institute (III) says.

What if the tree doesn't damage anything?

If a tree falls and causes no structural damage, your homeowner’s insurance policy typically will not cover debris removal.

What happens if the tree was on my neighbor's property?

If your home is damaged by your neighbor's tree, you will find that your homeowner’s insurance may help pay to repair the damage to your house (or other structure, if the tree falls on your fence, for example) after filing a claim with your homeowner’s insurance company.

Am I responsible if a tree from my property damages my neighbor's property?

You're generally not responsible for any damage that your falling tree causes to your neighbor's property. Your neighbor would have to file a claim with his/her homeowner’s insurance company if there was any structural damage to their property due to your tree falling on their property. You're typically only considered responsible if neglect on your part was a contributing factor to the tree's demise. If not — say a storm knocked your healthy tree onto your neighbor's house — your neighbor will likely have to file a claim through his or her own insurance.

Does homeowner’s insurance cover removal of tree debris?

If the tree damaged your home, a homeowner’s insurance policy may help cover the cost of repairing your house as well as removing the fallen tree branches. But if the tree fell without causing damage to a structure on your property, insurance won't cover the cost of removing the debris.

It's important to keep in mind that you will typically have to pay your deductible before your insurance will help pay for a covered loss. Read your policy or check with your agent to learn what type of coverage and how much coverage your policy provides for damage caused by a fallen tree.

You can always call The Agent and we can help explain your homeowner’s policy.

The Agent Insurance Services | (330) 758-3339

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