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Homeowner's Insurance: This doesn't seem fair to me.


J-rap
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We had a major storm a few weeks ago, and a giant tree in the yard next door split in half and the half that fell, fell into our yard.  The tree was very large, about 10 feet in diameter.  It was a bad storm that lingered, and it looked like the other half could fall with the next brisk wind.  Our neighbor was up in the tree in the middle of the storm tying giant ropes around the half that was left in order to prevent it from falling because if it fell, it would either fall on our home or theirs.  (Our houses are very close together.)

 

The half that fell into our yard miraculously only slightly damaged our garage roof.  Our insurance company sent an agent out the next day to take a look at the damage, and we were compensated much more than we even thought we would be.  He looked at the remaining half of a tree in the neighbor's yard and how the rope was holding it up, and said that for sure the neighbor's homeowner's insurance would cover taking it down, and he really should do that before it fell onto a roof.

 

Our neighbor did take it down within a few days because we were all so worried about it coming down, and in the meantime the insurance company was going to send an agent to look at it.  So, it turns out that their insurance company is the same as ours, and the agent was actually the same agent who came to OUR yard!  This time though, the agent took a look at it and said sorry, homeowner's insurance doesn't cover the taking down or removal of trees.  He said if the tree had actually fallen and damaged the home, then it would have all been covered.

 

I feel angry and frustrated about this.  If our neighbor hadn't taken it down and it had damaged the home, it would have been thousands upon thousands of dollars to repair it.  Our neighbor prevented this from happening by taking down a tree that would have caused this to happen.  The same agent had EARLIER said that our neighbor's homeowner's insurance should cover taking down the tree and the removal.

 

This is a neighbor who is extremely kind and generous, but uneducated and not knowledgable at all about how things work, who to contact, etc.  I'd like to help him.  Also, I know that part of the reason he removed the tree was so that it wouldn't fall onto OUR home.  Something seems wrong about all of this.

 

If it isn't covered, we'd like to pay for half of his tree removal fees.  But it seems like it should have been covered.  

 

Thoughts?

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That is exactly what happened to my neighbor. He has a 50' rotting weeping willow in his yard that continues to drop trunks onto his house which his insurance covers but they won't cover "preventative"-taking the tree completely out.

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It seems to me that the point is that insurance will not cover preventative maintanence, that is the home-owner responsibility.  But they will cover clean up from an accident.

 

It may be that if your neighbour had waited for the insurance guy, with the tree still split, it would have counted as clean-up of storm damage.  But since the insurance people didn't "officially" see the damaged tree, it just looks like a tree that was taken down - preventative work.

 

But - it seems to me that if that is the case, it is kind of scummy of them, since the guy clearly did see it before.  It may be that he has to follow a particular way of doing things, but TBH I think it is probably that they expect him to deny as many claims as possible, even if on technicalities.

 

Often with insurance you can get more if you push and make a fuss for long enough.

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It seems to me that the point is that insurance will not cover preventative maintanence, that is the home-owner responsibility.  But they will cover clean up from an accident.

 

It may be that if your neighbour had waited for the insurance guy, with the tree still split, it would have counted as clean-up of storm damage.  But since the insurance people didn't "officially" see the damaged tree, it just looks like a tree that was taken down - preventative work.

 

But - it seems to me that if that is the case, it is kind of scummy of them, since the guy clearly did see it before.  It may be that he has to follow a particular way of doing things, but TBH I think it is probably that they expect him to deny as many claims as possible, even if on technicalities.

 

Often with insurance you can get more if you push and make a fuss for long enough.

 

It does seem scummy, and our neighbor did take pictures of it before it was taken down too.  I guess I can start by writing a letter to the insurance company.

Edited by J-rap
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To me it only seems odd because it was the same agent for both homes.  What a strange thing for him to say!  Is there any chance you misunderstood him?  Did you advise your neighbor to take down the tree based on that statement?

 

I would not expect homeowner's insurance to pay to take down a tree that might cause a problem.  Insurance pays when the problem happens.  So that part does not surprise me.

 

I would advise the homeowner to write a letter to the insurance company explaining exactly what happened. You should too, since you have part of the story.   It does seem odd and wrong for an agent to say such a thing and then have it not be true.  Something's messed up there.

Edited by marbel
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Why can't this guy pay for his own lawn care and maintenance? I have no clue why anyone would want to jack up insurance premiums to start paying for such a thing.

 

Having said that, I did know of a policy that insured an expensive tree against lightning, but it was a special policy underwritten by Lloyds of London.

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To me it only seems odd because it was the same agent for both homes.  What a strange thing for him to say!  Is there any chance you misunderstood him?  Did you advise your neighbor to take down the tree based on that statement?

 

I would not expect homeowner's insurance to pay to take down a tree that might cause a problem.  Insurance pays when the problem happens.  So that part does not surprise me.

 

I would advise the homeowner to write a letter to the insurance company explaining exactly what happened. You should too, since you have part of the story.   It does seem odd and wrong for an agent to say such a thing and then have it not be true.  Something's messed up there.

 

Our neighbor actually took down the tree before I told him what the agent said.  So, he didn't take down the tree based on what I told him.  (I hadn't told him yet.)  I assumed he had already gotten ahold of his insurance company.  I know this family really struggles financially, so this whole event has been really difficult for them.  It also completely destroyed their entire backyard because they couldn't afford to have the tree taken away, only cut down. 

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Why can't this guy pay for his own lawn care and maintenance? I have no clue why anyone would want to jack up insurance premiums to start paying for such a thing.

 

Having said that, I did know of a policy that insured an expensive tree against lightning, but it was a special policy underwritten by Lloyds of London.

 

Because a storm is what caused the tree to split, and if it had fallen, it would have either done devastating damage to our home or his.

 

Just cutting down the tree cost him over $1,000.  Removing the giant tree was another $1,000.  That is money that they don't have.

 

I do hear things about premiums being jacked, but we have used our homeowner's insurance many times for things!  Once our entire first floor flooded when a pipe burst.  Another time, our car was robbed and many expensive items were taken.  (We had suitcases and computers in the car.)  For this latest storm, our garage roof was damaged.  Our insurance has always taken care of these things and our insurance premiums have never increased as a result.

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Our neighbor actually took down the tree before I told him what the agent said.  So, he didn't take down the tree based on what I told him.  (I hadn't told him yet.)  I assumed he had already gotten ahold of his insurance company.  I know this family really struggles financially, so this whole event has been really difficult for them.  It also completely destroyed their entire backyard because they couldn't afford to have the tree taken away, only cut down. 

 

Are you in an area where people heat with wood?  I have never done this but have heard of people advertising (Craigslist, maybe?) for people to come to their house to cut up a downed tree - the payment is the firewood they get to take home with them.    At least then they would have the thing out of their yard at no cost. 

 

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The adjuster never should have said what he did, but I think the company acted consistently with my experience.  Worse, if the tree had fallen and not damaged anything, but had just completely taken over the yard, the company would not have been on the hook for removal at all.

 

If it were my neighbor and I could manage it, I would offer to pay for the tree to be removed off his property since he paid to have it taken down.

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I think I would make a fuss about it. If it had been a different company or a different agent, that would be a different story. But for the same guy to say one thing, and then completely contradict himself is enough to get me riled up.

 

Sent from my HTCD200LVW using Tapatalk

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I'm not surprised because I've encountered that before. I'm more surprised at what the adjustor said to you. 

 

Seems like the most neighborly thing to do is help him get the tree out of the yard. And maybe if you were overcompensated for the actual pair costs of the garage, give him the rest as a gift. 

Edited by SamanthaCarter
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Because a storm is what caused the tree to split, and if it had fallen, it would have either done devastating damage to our home or his.

 

Just cutting down the tree cost him over $1,000.  Removing the giant tree was another $1,000.  That is money that they don't have.

 

I do hear things about premiums being jacked, but we have used our homeowner's insurance many times for things!  Once our entire first floor flooded when a pipe burst.  Another time, our car was robbed and many expensive items were taken.  (We had suitcases and computers in the car.)  For this latest storm, our garage roof was damaged.  Our insurance has always taken care of these things and our insurance premiums have never increased as a result.

 

If you are frequently using your homeowner's insurance, your rates will eventually be jacked up and everyone else's rates are rising to compensate for those who make many claims. 

 

If it is less than catastrophic, it is best to pay for it yourself.  At the very least, you get hits on the C.L.U.E database and that raises your rates because your place looks like a place where lots of bad things happen. 

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Homeowner's insurance covers sudden and accidental damage, not normal wear and tear or preventive maintenance.

 

If your pipe had almost burst, insurance would not have paid to replace it even if A) it would be much cheaper to fix the pipe before it burst than after or B) you did not have the money to fix the pipe.  In fact, if a pipe burst, but it was discovered that it had been visibly rusting through over time then insurance would probably not pay at all because the damage was gradual and preventable, not sudden and accidental.

 

The storm made half of the tree almost fall on yours or your neighbor's house.  If it had fallen that would have been sudden and accidental, but since it did not (rope or no rope), it was then your neighbor's responsibility to take it down before it foreseeably and preventably caused damage.

 

Wendy

 

 

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The adjuster never should have said what he did, but I think the company acted consistently with my experience.  Worse, if the tree had fallen and not damaged anything, but had just completely taken over the yard, the company would not have been on the hook for removal at all.

 

If it were my neighbor and I could manage it, I would offer to pay for the tree to be removed off his property since he paid to have it taken down.

 

I'm not trying to derail or start an argument, but I wonder about the bolded.  Why would it be worse if the tree fell and didn't damage anything?  Homeowner's insurance pays for damage, so if there's no damage, why would they pay?  

 

I don't work for an insurance company.  :-)   Just curious.    So curious I googled the cost to remove a downed tree. The first result said $75 to $150 - this is for removing a tree that is already down, not to take down a tree. Of course that's going to vary depending on cost of living, etc.  But it was less than I thought it might be (not to say it might not be a burden to pay).  Aren't most homeowner insurance deductibles more than that?  (I can't remember ours at the moment.)

 

ETA for clarity.  Not talking about the cost to take down a standing tree, but the cost to remove a tree that is already down.

 

Edited by marbel
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I'm not trying to derail or start an argument, but I wonder about the bolded. Why would it be worse if the tree fell and didn't damage anything? Homeowner's insurance pays for damage, so if there's no damage, why would they pay?

 

I don't work for an insurance company. :-) Just curious. So curious I googled the cost to remove a downed tree. The first result said $75 to $150. Of course that's going to vary depending on cost of living, etc. But it was less than I thought it might be (not to say it might not be a burden to pay). Aren't most homeowner insurance deductibles more than that? (I can't remember ours at the moment.)

 

I would be wary of someone only charging $75 to take down a tree. My parents just paid $750 and that was a good deal.

 

OP, if he advertises he can probably get someone to haul away the tree for the free wood.

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I would be wary of someone only charging $75 to take down a tree. My parents just paid $750 and that was a good deal.

 

OP, if he advertises he can probably get someone to haul away the tree for the free wood.

 

The $75- 150  was to clear away a tree that was already down, not to take down a tree. 

 

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I'm not trying to derail or start an argument, but I wonder about the bolded.  Why would it be worse if the tree fell and didn't damage anything?  Homeowner's insurance pays for damage, so if there's no damage, why would they pay?  

 

I don't work for an insurance company.  :-)   Just curious.    So curious I googled the cost to remove a downed tree. The first result said $75 to $150. Of course that's going to vary depending on cost of living, etc.  But it was less than I thought it might be (not to say it might not be a burden to pay).  Aren't most homeowner insurance deductibles more than that?  (I can't remember ours at the moment.)

 

 

Our deductible is a Percentage of the value of the house -- over $1000 for sure.

 

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The adjuster never should have said what he did, but I think the company acted consistently with my experience.  Worse, if the tree had fallen and not damaged anything, but had just completely taken over the yard, the company would not have been on the hook for removal at all.

 

If it were my neighbor and I could manage it, I would offer to pay for the tree to be removed off his property since he paid to have it taken down.

 

:iagree:

 

We had a huge tree come down and miss the house by inches. Insurance did not pay for tree removal. While I have sympathy for your neighbor, tree care is the homeowner's financial responsibility. Just last week we had a small tree removed, a medium rhododendron removed, and all of our trees assessed for stability and some trimming done. Cost was approximately $950 including tax.

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I'm not trying to derail or start an argument, but I wonder about the bolded.  Why would it be worse if the tree fell and didn't damage anything?  Homeowner's insurance pays for damage, so if there's no damage, why would they pay?  

 

I don't work for an insurance company.  :-)   Just curious.    So curious I googled the cost to remove a downed tree. The first result said $75 to $150. Of course that's going to vary depending on cost of living, etc.  But it was less than I thought it might be (not to say it might not be a burden to pay).  Aren't most homeowner insurance deductibles more than that?  (I can't remember ours at the moment.)

 

 

This was a giant tree, and they first had to pay for the cost of taking it down.  A tree removal company with the proper equipment spent two days cutting it down.  The bill was about $1,000.

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I am not getting offering to help pay to remove the neighbor's tree since it is his tree and not yours. I believe in being neighborly too but IMHO the tree is fully his responsibility since it is on his property. Now if I was rolling in money with extra to spare, then I would but that is not the case.

 

Yes, but the tree looked like it was even more likely to fall on our house.  There really was no other place for it to go.  It would have caused significant damage to our home and our neighbor was trying to be proactive.

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I am not getting offering to help pay to remove the neighbor's tree since it is his tree and not yours. I believe in being neighborly too but IMHO the tree is fully his responsibility since it is on his property. Now if I was rolling in money with extra to spare, then I would but that is not the case.

 

Yes, but the tree looked like it was even more likely to fall on our house.  There really was no other place for it to go.  It would have caused significant damage to our home and our neighbor was trying to be proactive.

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It sounds like most people believe being pro-active means it would not be covered.  I guess he should have let it fall, and then the insurance company would have paid for our second floor to be repaired and maybe us staying in a hotel for a couple weeks while it was being done!  I do understand what people are saying though.  How can you guess for sure what would happen and where do you draw the line.  What really threw me was when the adjustor sounded so certain that it would be covered.

 

Advertising free wood is a great idea though.  Thanks!

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This was a giant tree, and they first had to pay for the cost of taking it down.  A tree removal company with the proper equipment spent two days cutting it down.  The bill was about $1,000.

 

Yes, cutting it down safely is going to cost much more than removing the tree once it is down.    

 

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Yes, but the tree looked like it was even more likely to fall on our house.  There really was no other place for it to go.  It would have caused significant damage to our home and our neighbor was trying to be proactive.

Yes but that is simply being a responsible homeowner IMHO.  Also, it protects his interests to do so since his insurance is at risk if he makes a claim. Now if the tree was on both of your properties that is different.

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It sounds like most people believe being pro-active means it would not be covered.  I guess he should have let it fall, and then the insurance company would have paid for our second floor to be repaired and maybe us staying in a hotel for a couple weeks while it was being done!  I do understand what people are saying though.  How can you guess for sure what would happen and where do you draw the line.  What really threw me was when the adjustor sounded so certain that it would be covered.

 

Advertising free wood is a great idea though.  Thanks!

 

It sounds like it did do some damage though, on your house?  So, if it was just left there, as it fell and such, perhaps the insurance would have actually taken care of it as part of the clean-up from the accident?

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It sounds like it did do some damage though, on your house?  So, if it was just left there, as it fell and such, perhaps the insurance would have actually taken care of it as part of the clean-up from the accident?

 

Half of it landed in our yard, and he had already paid someone to come and have it removed, immediately the next day, to get it out of our yard.  That part did damage to our garage roof, and our insurance is paying for our roof damage.  Our neighbor was trying to get his insurance to pay for the part that was still standing, held in place by a rope.  

 

Actually, I don't know if he even asked about the part that fell into our yard.  

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Also, did you get estimates for the repair of your garage? Insurance companies are usually stingy when it comes to how much they give you for damages so you cost to repair may be even higher than you realize.

 

No, we didn't get estimates.  

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Yes, but the tree looked like it was even more likely to fall on our house. There really was no other place for it to go. It would have caused significant damage to our home and our neighbor was trying to be proactive.

It is still not your financial responsibility. It is kind to want to help, but it isn't common for neighbors to hand over $500 (if you are thinking of paying 1/2) to another neighbor because their tree was about to fall no matter whose house it fell on. If you help out, it should be as a 100% GIFT to your neighbor, not as something you feel responsible to do because of the situation. If I have a neighbor who is having a hardship, I will likely help with money or time if able, but out of generosity not out of a sense of obligation. Paying anything is very generous and there is nothing wrong with doing so, as long as you know and they know you are doing so out of the goodness of your heart, not because the gift has anything to do with you feeling responsible for your house being built in the path where the tree might fall. Frankly, I don't and likely will never have $500 to give friendly neighbors for their lawn maintenance upkeep responsibilities.

 

It is sad they they don't have $1000 to spare, but if 1/2 the tree fell on their house instead of yours they still would have been in the same boat with needing to remove the standing portion of the tree. Even if your house wasn't In the picture. BTW: the insurance agent was rude to tell you what insurance should have covered for your neighbor and say a different story when he found out he was that neighbor's agent.

 

Example to try to put it in perspective: if you were parked at a redlight and someone hit you from behind, would you offer to pay 1/2 their insurance deductible just because your car happened to be stopped in their path and they did not have money to cover it? If so, that is fine and kind hearted, but it is clear that you would not be responsible to pay anything.

Edited by TX native
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Removing large trees is an incredibly exact science and yes, very expensive.  Going cheap results in those Funniest Home Videos where the tree falls the opposite direction on a the house or car.

 

OP, I agree with it not seeming fair, but it sounds expected to me.  No damage took place, so no, the insurance will not pay for it.  It would come under preventative maintenance at that point.  

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Also, I am not sure if it was your neighbor's tree that fell on your garage, is it clear that a claim needs to be made on your insurance coverage or your neighbor's? I thought if something on my property caused damage to another's property that I would be responsible. Insurance experts, please weigh in.

 

I remember as a child an awning piece flying off our porch covering and got stuck into a tree during a bad wind storm. My parents were outside during the storm frantically trying to get it down before it flew and hit the neighbor's car. My parents did not have homeowner's insurance *gasp* and were afraid they would have to pay damage to the car in the neighbor's drive if the awning piece flew into the neighbor's yard.

Edited by TX native
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We had a major storm a few weeks ago, and a giant tree in the yard next door split in half and the half that fell, fell into our yard.  The tree was very large, about 10 feet in diameter.  It was a bad storm that lingered, and it looked like the other half could fall with the next brisk wind.  Our neighbor was up in the tree in the middle of the storm tying giant ropes around the half that was left in order to prevent it from falling because if it fell, it would either fall on our home or theirs.  (Our houses are very close together.)

 

The half that fell into our yard miraculously only slightly damaged our garage roof.  Our insurance company sent an agent out the next day to take a look at the damage, and we were compensated much more than we even thought we would be.  He looked at the remaining half of a tree in the neighbor's yard and how the rope was holding it up, and said that for sure the neighbor's homeowner's insurance would cover taking it down, and he really should do that before it fell onto a roof.

 

Our neighbor did take it down within a few days because we were all so worried about it coming down, and in the meantime the insurance company was going to send an agent to look at it.  So, it turns out that their insurance company is the same as ours, and the agent was actually the same agent who came to OUR yard!  This time though, the agent took a look at it and said sorry, homeowner's insurance doesn't cover the taking down or removal of trees.  He said if the tree had actually fallen and damaged the home, then it would have all been covered.

 

I feel angry and frustrated about this.  If our neighbor hadn't taken it down and it had damaged the home, it would have been thousands upon thousands of dollars to repair it.  Our neighbor prevented this from happening by taking down a tree that would have caused this to happen.  The same agent had EARLIER said that our neighbor's homeowner's insurance should cover taking down the tree and the removal.

 

This is a neighbor who is extremely kind and generous, but uneducated and not knowledgable at all about how things work, who to contact, etc.  I'd like to help him.  Also, I know that part of the reason he removed the tree was so that it wouldn't fall onto OUR home.  Something seems wrong about all of this.

 

If it isn't covered, we'd like to pay for half of his tree removal fees.  But it seems like it should have been covered.  

 

Thoughts?

 

I believe this comes down to their policy.

When we purchased our house in SC, I was very specific with our insurance company (USAA) in that I wanted a rider attached to our policy for damaged trees. If we wanted the tree out _before_ it was damaged, our pocket. If a tree was damaged in any type of storm/accident/??, the rider covered it. But, we paid for that.

 

Kris

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Half of it landed in our yard, and he had already paid someone to come and have it removed, immediately the next day, to get it out of our yard.  That part did damage to our garage roof, and our insurance is paying for our roof damage.  Our neighbor was trying to get his insurance to pay for the part that was still standing, held in place by a rope.  

 

Actually, I don't know if he even asked about the part that fell into our yard.  

 

If your agent wasn't just speaking out of turn (it happens--sometimes people say something and then realize later it wasn't what they meant to say), I think the bolded could be why it wasn't covered. Generally, if you are going to have insurance pay, they want to see it in person, and then approve it. If he saw it (but was working on your claim), and then he came back to find it gone, he might have had no recourse. I would call the company and just ask about the ins and outs. 

 

Our insurance company has a big reputation for not changing rates unless you have a truly exorbitant number of claims in a short time, but they do want you to call them before you do cleanup and such. If you have something like water damage on a weekend, you are still supposed to call, and you should document, photograph everything. We had water damage on a Sunday night once when we got home from a trip. We had to clean it up--it was active. We did get photos, and we got an adjuster out the next day. We were actually reimbursed for our own labor (post-deductible). We had some things we outsourced (the actual drying process). We did use our own and a friend's labor to put it back together AFTER getting the adjuster on board. They based on reimbursement on what it cost to get the job done by a professional, so we came out ahead (basically we used that money to offset the deductible). They knew that we were doing the work ourselves. They also sued the company that manufactured the equipment we had that failed, so we eventually got our deductible back as well! 

 

I think we must live in a state with pretty good insurance laws on top of having a fantastic company. We know others with the same company, and they have the good experiences as well. One time, we knew someone who's rates went up--they complained, the company looked at the overall record of the customer (excellent), and then the rates were lowered back to normal.

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Also, I am not sure if it was your neighbor's tree that fell on your garage, is it clear that a claim needs to be made on your insurance coverage or your neighbor's? I thought if something on my property caused damage to another's property that I would be responsible. Insurance experts, please weigh in.

 

 

If your neighbor's tree damages your home, it goes to your insurance unless the neighbor had prior knowledge that the tree was unhealthy/unstable, and then your neighbor would be liable.

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If your neighbor's tree damages your home, it goes to your insurance unless the neighbor had prior knowledge that the tree was unhealthy/unstable, and then your neighbor would be liable.

Thanks, I was not sure.

 

ETA: With that, I understand that the OP's neighbor wasn't responsible for the 1/2 that fell on the garage if it was otherwise a stable tree before the storm, but the neighbor was (as I suspected) obligated to remove the 1/2 of the damaged part of the tree that needed held up by the rope since it was obviously unstable after the storm. If the neighbor wasn't proactive to remove it, then if the other half fell on the neighbor's house, the neighbor or his insurance company would be responsible to pay for the 2nd claim, right? That would mean, the neighbor's cost to remove the tree saved a possible deductible payment and higher insurance costs due to a likely claim by being responsible before the remaining part of the tree caused more damage to OPs house.

Edited by TX native
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It sounds like it did do some damage though, on your house?  So, if it was just left there, as it fell and such, perhaps the insurance would have actually taken care of it as part of the clean-up from the accident?

 

Yes, part of his tree actually fell into our yard during the storm.  It damaged the roof of our garage in one corner, though not too bad.  It took down our phone line and the downed part of the tree took up our entire backyard.  The remainder of the tree was still upright in the neighbor's yard, but looked very unstable, so in the midst of the storm, the neighbor put ropes all around it to prevent the rest of the tree from falling.  The part left was very large and could not have avoided landing on one of our roofs, most likely ours since that seemed to be the direction it would go.

 

The neighbor was concerned about the tree that had already landed in our yard, since of course it blocked our entire yard and we couldn't even get to our garage, and it was his tree.  So as soon as possible, he called a tree removal service and they came and removed the part that had fallen into our yard.  However, when I called our insurance agent, the agent said that it was our insurance policy that would cover our roof damage.  I didn't think to ask him if it would have covered the tree removal in our yard, but by then the neighbor had already had it removed.  Or, maybe the neighbor's insurance policy (which is the same company as ours) would have covered that part since it actually had fallen as a result of the storm and done damage, and was his tree.  

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It is still not your financial responsibility. It is kind to want to help, but it isn't common for neighbors to hand over $500 (if you are thinking of paying 1/2) to another neighbor because their tree was about to fall no matter whose house it fell on. If you help out, it should be as a 100% GIFT to your neighbor, not as something you feel responsible to do because of the situation. If I have a neighbor who is having a hardship, I will likely help with money or time if able, but out of generosity not out of a sense of obligation. Paying anything is very generous and there is nothing wrong with doing so, as long as you know and they know you are doing so out of the goodness of your heart, not because the gift has anything to do with you feeling responsible for your house being built in the path where the tree might fall. Frankly, I don't and likely will never have $500 to give friendly neighbors for their lawn maintenance upkeep responsibilities.

 

It is sad they they don't have $1000 to spare, but if 1/2 the tree fell on their house instead of yours they still would have been in the same boat with needing to remove the standing portion of the tree. Even if your house wasn't In the picture. BTW: the insurance agent was rude to tell you what insurance should have covered for your neighbor and say a different story when he found out he was that neighbor's agent.

 

Example to try to put it in perspective: if you were parked at a redlight and someone hit you from behind, would you offer to pay 1/2 their insurance deductible just because your car happened to be stopped in their path and they did not have money to cover it? If so, that is fine and kind hearted, but it is clear that you would not be responsible to pay anything.

 

Those are all good points, and I see what you're saying.  

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Also, I am not sure if it was your neighbor's tree that fell on your garage, is it clear that a claim needs to be made on your insurance coverage or your neighbor's? I thought if something on my property caused damage to another's property that I would be responsible. Insurance experts, please weigh in.

 

I remember as a child an awning piece flying off our porch covering and got stuck into a tree during a bad wind storm. My parents were outside during the storm frantically trying to get it down before it flew and hit the neighbor's car. My parents did not have homeowner's insurance *gasp* and were afraid they would have to pay damage to the car in the neighbor's drive if the awning piece flew into the neighbor's yard.

 

It was our neighbor's tree, but our insurance agent said our insurance policy would cover the damage.

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If your agent wasn't just speaking out of turn (it happens--sometimes people say something and then realize later it wasn't what they meant to say), I think the bolded could be why it wasn't covered. Generally, if you are going to have insurance pay, they want to see it in person, and then approve it. If he saw it (but was working on your claim), and then he came back to find it gone, he might have had no recourse. I would call the company and just ask about the ins and outs. 

 

 

 

When the adjustor came to our yard, the part of the neighbor's tree that had fallen into our yard had been removed, yes. But he did look at the remainder of the tree that was still standing in our neighbor's yard, held in place with ropes so that it wouldn't fall.  That was the part the adjustor was commenting on when he told us  "for sure neighbor's homeowner's insurance should cover its removal."  (something like that.)  This is the same agent who came back again, in response to neighbor's request this time, but AFTER said tree being held up with ropes had been taken down for fear of it causing damage.  But this time, adjustor told neighbor that insurance would not cover it.  Neighbor did take pictures before it was taken down.

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When the adjustor came to our yard, the part of the neighbor's tree that had fallen into our yard had been removed, yes. But he did look at the remainder of the tree that was still standing in our neighbor's yard, held in place with ropes so that it wouldn't fall.  That was the part the adjustor was commenting on when he told us  "for sure neighbor's homeowner's insurance should cover its removal."  (something like that.)  This is the same agent who came back again, in response to neighbor's request this time, but AFTER said tree being held up with ropes had been taken down for fear of it causing damage.  But this time, adjustor told neighbor that insurance would not cover it.  Neighbor did take pictures before it was taken down.

 

I would want to know if the adjuster spoke out of turn, or if it's because your neighbor had it taken down before getting it authorized (picture or no picture--they might have that rule). I would assume the company could clear that up.

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