Unfortunately a lot of property owners often ask themselves the question as to how to protect themselves from tree/branch failure a little too late. As arborists in Hamilton we hear this question and similar ones and for good reason. If you’re unfamiliar with the topic you will be able by the end of this article to understand exactly what you need to keep in mind to protect yourself.
In providing this we hope that the checklist will help you avoid any unforeseen issues that may arise. Please also see the reasons for tree branch failure as well for a well rounded understanding.
How to Protect Yourself from tree/branch failure.
- 1. Tree branch failure is usually covered by home insurance policies (if it lands on a vehicle then vehicle insurance), double check yours to make sure this is the case. You will also want to know what your deductible is.
- 2. Have a certified arborist assess and complete the work necessary. Insurance will not be sympathetic if your landscaper or handyman performs the work.
- 3. Demand a receipt for the work.
- 4. Ensure the receipt details the tree, its location, and the purpose of the work being completed. It is not enough for the receipt to say “pruned tree on yard”. Be as specific as possible by naming the tree as well as its exact location. Also, if the work involved mitigating risky branches, ensure this is noted. Here is an example of what should be on the quote, “Norway maple located approximately 5 feet from SE corner of house was pruned to remove dead, dying, and crossing branches to mitigate risks to house and shed below it.”
- 5. Contact your insurance as soon as the problem arises. The longer you wait the more questions they will likely ask. Learn more about why due diligence is key to insurance claims. Especially in the cases where ice storms are a factor.
Last piece of advice is to always communicate with your neighbour if you are sharing a tree. If a branch fails from your tree but lands on their side then they must go through their own house insurance to claim the damages. But, if it is deemed there is irresponsibility on your part then your neighbour’s insurance company could contact your company to foot the bill.
For example, if your neighbour asks you to remove a tree on your property that has a large cavity in it but you ignore it, then the problem could come back to you if it lands on their house.