One question that many homeowners in Massachusetts have is whether their insurance covers tree damage. When heavy winds knock your neighbor’s tree over, it may damage part of your property. Since it is typically not anyone’s fault, it becomes an “Act of God.” As you may know, most policies do not cover such incidents. But not all Massachusetts homeowner insurance policies provide the same type of coverage.
If you wonder if your homeowner’s insurance covers the damages or removal costs, read this article. This section hopes to address your or your neighbor’s trees’ queries, not the public shade trees. The trees in your immediate vicinity, lining the streets, are maintained by the city. If a person or property gets damaged by them, it is the authorities’ responsibility in Massachusetts.
Your Coverage Depends on the Insurer and the Situation
Each insurance carrier has certain terms explaining how they handle specific circumstances. Based on the coverage limits, they may or may not cover the damages due to fallen trees. Besides, it helps if you determine whether the incident happened due to natural and weather events or negligence.
In Massachusetts, dangerously overgrown trees in your neighbor’s yard can be considered a private nuisance. If the branches extend over your property line, you have the right to cut or trim them. The insurer most likely won’t foot your bills caused due to your neglect. If either scenario mentioned is not the situation, your coverage depends on what structures got damaged. Damages to your home or other insured structure on your property are usually covered.
Costs of Removal and Repairs
Based on the coverage, your homeowners insurance will pay for the damages incurred. They may also help with the tree removal charges, provided you pay the deductible.
No Damage No Coverage
Suppose you have a huge backyard with no insured structures. When a tree falls onto this area, there is no damage to your property. You will be bearing the costs of tree removal from your pocket.
The City Is Responsible
As mentioned above, your city or municipality takes responsibility for the trees on the street. Whether the branches fall or the tree gets uprooted, the city cleans it up. But if some portion of the fallen tree remains on your property, you should take care of that. Your homeowners insurance covers damages to the insured property.
Irrespective of who owns the tree, your Massachusetts homeowner insurance may pitch in. They may recoup your deductible, along with partial costs, from your neighbor’s insurance.
When Does Tree Damage remain Out of Coverage?
Apart from the no-damage scenario or neglect, the tree’s condition also determines if you are covered. If the tree is rotting or decaying and is in the state of uprooting, insurance doesn’t cover the damages. This holds even if a storm caused the fall. So, it is your responsibility to ensure that your home and surroundings are healthy and safe.
Do not risk any destruction of property by ignoring visible signs like old age or rot. Look for holes and crack in the tree bark, fungus growth, dead branches, etc. If you spot these signs, you must contact tree removal professionals to assess the situation.
Tips to File a Claim for a Fallen Tree
- Take sufficient photos from various angles to establish the damage done.
- Provide all the details, such as your neighbor’s negligence or severe weather conditions.
- Be cautious and do not go near damaged electrical lines or dangling branches from your roof.
- Pay the appropriate deductible for the covered loss.
Speak to Your Insurance Company
Even if your neighbor is at fault, you still may need to involve your insurance company. Since every policy is unique, it is crucial to learn what is covered and what is not. Carefully consider all the aspects of the incident before filing a claim. You may have chosen some add-ons that cover this situation. Better yet, speak to an independent agent or your insurer. They can help you determine if you have the right coverage for this sort of thing.