I get asked this question (or something similar) every year during the monsoon season so I thought I’d address it in a blog post.
The quick answer is NO.
The legal principle for this is called Force Majeure; AKA, the Act of God defense. Force majeure essentially frees one from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond one’s control, such as a haboob (that’s fun to say), windstorm, tornado, or any other natural disaster that comes to mind, causes damage to another’s property or personal property.
This explanation is tough to take sometimes because it means you have to come up with deductibles to repair damage caused by someone else’s trees and these incidents never happen when you’re flush with money or have all the time in the world to handle these messy situations.
So, it’s important to choose a deductible that you can easily handle under all circumstances; you never know when you may have to come out of pocket.
It may be easier to pay a little more each month for a lower deductible if you don’t have the money set aside. Or, add an amount equivalent to your deductible to your emergency fund so you’ll always be prepared.
Of course there may be times when you are liable for your tree falling and damaging your neighbor’s property but those would be situations where you were in “control”. For example, let’s say you decide to cut off a big limb and don’t do it properly so the limb falls damaging your neighbor’s property. That would be a liability claim for sure. It’s all about CONTROL!
Homeowner’s insurance policies have some additional coverage to help with debris removal however, it’s limited in scope and amount so you’ll want to read this section of your policy for a better understanding of how you’re covered.
Another additional coverage in the home insurance policy is for Trees, Shrubs, and Other Plants. Unfortunately, windstorm is not a covered peril for this coverage so if a storm knocks over your trees (I know how expensive these can be) there is no coverage.
There you have it. No, you are not liable if your tree falls on your neighbor’s fence, car, house, etc. However, you need to be prepared financially if this happens to you.
The time to discover how exactly your policy will cover you is before a claim happens. Invest some time meeting with an insurance professional like me to review your policies. It won't cost you a dime, but it could save you thousands! Click the button to request a Home Insurance Quote.
Author Richard Morris
Richard Morris, an independent insurance agent in Chandler, Arizona, has been serving and helping Arizona families with all their insurance needs for over 23 years. Visit his website at http://www.southwestpremierinsuranceagency.com to see all the ways he can help you with your insurance needs or call the office at (480) 336-2707 or toll free at (888) 907-9349. Connect with Rich on Google+ and Twitter.