If a tree in my yard falls on neighbor's roof, does my insurance pay for the damage? What if a tree is ready to fall down on my house? Will my insurance company pay to remove the tree?

Asked by MB from Iowa

Great questions! Here’s my response to the first: 1. “If a tree in my yard falls on neighbor’s roof, does my insurance pay for the damage?” It depends. If the tree is clearly dead, old and/or structurally compromised, it’s your responsibility to deal with it. If it falls on your neighbor’s roof before you are able to have a tree removal service take care of it, your policy’s liability coverage might pay for the damage to the neighbor’s house, but I wouldn’t count on it. Insurance is supposed to protect people from the fallout from unforeseen events. Insurers are not in the business of paying for preventative maintenance. If the tree falls and your insurer suspects that you neglected taking care of it, they may not pay. If the tree is healthy/stable and a severe storm or bolt of lightning causes it to fall on your neighbor’s roof, then it’s not your (or your insurer’s) problem. Your neighbor’s insurer will take care of it. 2. “What if a tree is ready to fall down on my house—will my insurance company pay to remove the tree?” Again, it depends, but probably not, for the reason mentioned above (insurance generally doesn’t cover preventative maintenance). Some insurers offer policy add-ons (for a price, of course) that cover tree removal. Check your declarations page, which summarizes your policy’s coverages and exclusions. If you can’t get clarity there, call your insurance agent. If you live in a heavily wooded area that sees a lot of storms, you might ask about getting additional coverage. And finally, Yes, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, it does, in fact, make a sound.

Please note: InsureMe Answers is not intended to be a substitute for advice from a licensed professional. For specific questions about a policy or claim, please contact your insurance agent or company.

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