Tree Damage – Insurance Claims
March 2, 2020 | By Aaron Capannelli
Whether the result of a storm or a tree’s condition, many homeowners will experience a tree falling on their property at some point. When a tree falls, it ideally falls away from the home…sometimes, unfortunately, it does not. There is a silver lining, however. If a tree has fallen on your home, deck, workshop, fence, or across your driveway blocking access to your home, your home insurance provider will cover it.
There’s A Tree on My Home! Now What?
Believe it or not, your insurance provider can be pretty particular about the steps taken after an event that has damaged your home or an extension of your home. The information you need is in your policy, but it’s often buried deep, which is a problem in and of itself. If a tree is down on your home or extension of your home, the “next steps” can be overwhelming…but they don’t have to be. Just remember to “S.I.T.”
- Safety: Prioritize Safety First— Exit your home as quickly and safely as possible, then notify necessary emergency services (i.e. the fire department if your home is on fire, or the power company if lines are down.)
- Insurance Provider: Once your family’s safety has been established and emergency services have been notified (if necessary,) notifying your insurance provider and filing a claim is the next important step. Your insurance provider will likely instruct you to hire a reputable tree service to tackle the tree work, and to notify them once the work is completed. An adjuster will be sent out to assess the damage, but not before the debris is gone. The adjuster cannot accurately assess damages and estimate repair costs otherwise.
- Tree: Call 770-Tree-Guy at (770) 873-3489. We have the expertise, experience, and equipment needed to safely remove the tree(s) and debris – and will do so with a focus on preserving your property. “Preservation of Property” is high up on your insurance provider’s list of priorities…second only to your family’s safety.
Tips (And Other Useful Information)
- Multiple Bids – are they mandatory? Your insurance provider may suggest that you get multiple bids, but doing so is rarely mandatory. In fact, it can often be completely impractical. In the aftermath of a hurricane, for example, a community’s tree damage workload far exceeds the workforce available to handle it. Can you imagine trying to line up multiple bids? There is a tree on your home! Time is of the essence.
- The $500.00 Myth – Oftentimes, homeowners are under the impression that their insurer will only contribute $500.00 toward a tree removal project. Typically, policies do commit a set amount of $500.00 for debris removal, but that pertains specifically to the hauling of debris from your property, after the technical tree work has been performed. The actual removal a tree from your home, outbuilding, etc. requires a completely different calculation and is a separate line item in the estimate.
- Payment – When possible, hire contractors who don’t require payment until you have been reimbursed by your insurance provider. In many cases, 770-Tree-Guy will work directly with the insurance carrier to arrange payment, removing that responsibility the homeowner’s plate entirely. It is not uncommon for contractors to request partial or full payment up front, particularly in the all the chaos following a major weather event. Don’t do it!
- Your Vehicle(s) – If a tree or debris has fallen on one or more of your vehicles, but not your home or extended property, that damage is more appropriately covered by your auto insurance provider.
- Insured Contractors – Be sure all contractors you use have both liability insurance, AND worker’s compensation. In addition to performing tree work and helping you walk through early stages of the claim process, 770-Tree-Guy can assist in sourcing other contractors needed for the balance of the project. In most cases, they too will be an advocate for you during the claim process.
- We’ve done the work – from local weather events to hurricane battered coastlines in surrounding states, 770-Tree-Guy has answered Mother Nature’s call by committing the time, workforce, equipment, and resources necessary to get the work done.
- We do it well – very well. In fact, we’ve earned the “Preferred Vendor” badge from multiple insurance providers as a result.
- We know the ins and outs of insurance. Our educated staff is specifically dedicated to helping homeowners navigate the insurance claim process. This assistance is simply part of the service we provide and is completely complementary.
By removing and/or properly pruning surrounding trees, proactive tree care can greatly reduce the risk of future damage to your home. While some dead, diseased, and/or damaged trees are easy to spot, others are often less obvious. If any of your trees concern you or if you’re simply curious about their condition, we’re here to help. Call 770-Tree-Guy to schedule a Tree Risk Assessment. We’ll promptly send out one of our certified arborists for a thorough review.
Vertical or horizontal…scraping the sky or down on your dwelling, 770-Tree-Guy knows trees. Give us a call.
A fallen tree can not only damage your