One of the most common causes of structural damage to homes and property during extreme weather is from falling trees. During heavy ice, snow or rain storms, or as a result of strong winds, trees can fall in a matter of seconds and cause expensive and even life-threatening destruction. As a homeowner, it's crucial to understand the need for proper tree care and maintenance to ensure the trees on your property stay healthy, strong and sturdy throughout the seasons.
Find out what are the most common questions homeowners ask about roof damage and other destruction caused to house and property by falling trees. Learn how to check if your insurance covers tree damage repair costs. The tree damage experts at ServiceMaster Restore have the experience and expertise to respond to all of your concerns about the dangers and consequences of falling trees on homes and property.
Will My Homeowner's Insurance Cover Fallen Trees?
In insurance terms, a fallen tree, is one of the ‘perils’ listed in many home insurance policies. A peril is any event, such as a fire or break-in, that may damage your home or belongings. The specific perils covered by your homeowners insurance are listed in your policy.
If the tree fell because of extremely high winds, heavy rainfall or other extreme weather circumstances, your homeowner's insurance will most likely cover the cost of damages caused to your home, shed or garage. However, if your insurance can prove that the tree fell because of negligent maintenance, the damages will not be covered by your policy. This and personal safety is why tree care and maintenance on your property is so important.
Typically, debris cleanup caused by a fallen tree is not covered by your insurance, especially if it didn't cause structural damage.
If your neighbor's tree falls on your property, their policy should be responsible for the repair costs. When in doubt, contact your own insurance agent to get the full details of what kind of tree damage repair is covered under your specific policy.
How Can I Determine If The Trees On My Property Are Healthy?
Strong, healthy trees have less risk of falling during a storm. Unhealthy trees generally show some of the following signs and symptoms:
- Look for large, visible cracks in the tree's trunks and branches.
- Be aware of potential rotting and look for things like fungus or mold on the bark of the tree.
- Trees and branches that are leaning at a sharp angle are at risk of toppling over or breaking.
- Older trees or hollowed out sections of your tree need to be assessed by a professional arborist to determine if it should be removed.
If your tree has any of the above issues, address them immediately. Usually, a simple trimming, removal of dead or diseased limbs, and pruning branches can keep your tree in relatively good condition. If your tree is beyond repair, however, your arborist may recommend removing it to avoid potential danger or damage.
What Should I Do If My Tree Looks Unhealthy?
Once you've established that a tree on your property or near your home is damaged, rotting, or dying, it's essential that you take the proper steps to correct the problem before it causes damage and risk to personal safety.
The following steps can help to keep your tree in good condition:
- Trim cracked or dangling tree limbs, and prune any branches that are close to your house or garage.
- Have an arborist inspect trees that appear to be leaning or those that are older and more prone to disease, and indicate, if necessary, any that require removal.
- Report tree limbs that are close to utility lines to your local power company.
- Never try to cut a tree down yourself without the help of a professional tree removal service. Cutting down trees is a difficult task that can cause potential risk of personal injury and damage to your or your neighbours’ property.
If your home has been damaged by a fallen tree or large branches, contact your insurance agent immediately to begin the claims process. Take videos and photographs of the damage to help support your claim. If you need help cleaning up the damage, contact ServiceMaster Restore. We have the professional tools, knowledge and expertise to get your home and property back to normal as fast as possible.