Wednesday, June 29, 2016
So, Who Pays?
You have worked hard to keep your home maintained and beautiful. You have paid a small fortune to your landscaper. Your home is one of the most beautiful in the neighborhood because of all your effort. Yet, your next door neighbor has not given the same attention to his home. It hasn’t seen a paint brush or hammer since the 1970’s and the yard can be classified as a small jungle. You don’t really concern yourself with your neighbor’s lack of upkeep because you have a big beautiful fence that separates your property from his. But, there is one source of contention. On your neighbor’s property is a large, tall tree next to your fence. The tree doesn’t look healthy, it looks diseased and weak and it leans towards your fence and house. You have talked to your neighbor about your concern that it will fall and damage the fence and your home, but it is to no avail. And sure enough, during a tropical storm, the tree…
….comes down on your fence and on your home causing several thousands of dollars in damage. You walk over to your neighbor’s house and present an estimate and ask your neighbor to file it with his insurance company. Your neighbor tells you that he will not because he didn’t cause or sustain any damage. You argue that it was his tree on his property and his neglect that caused the damage to your property. So, who pays?
The answer: In most instances, your insurance pays. Its damage to your property and almost always it is the policy covering the property that responds. It’s considered an act of God. Now, if you are in such a situation, there are some things that you could do that may help your insurance company be in a stronger position to argue against your neighbor’s negligence in the event that the tree does comes down on your home and there is a claim. But this is rare.
- Document in detail your discussions with your neighbor when you express your concerns about the tree.
- Offer to pay a portion or all of the fee to have an expert examine the tree’s health. If the tree is diseased, send a certified letter with the results to your neighbor asking for the tree’s removal.
- Offer to pay a portion or all of the cost to remove the tree. (In some cases this is less costly than paying your deductible.)
But remember, you can’t force someone to remove a tree!
If you have questions about any of your insurance policies, contact us! We will be happy to review your policy and answer your questions whether you purchased the policy through The Miami Agency or somewhere else. Also, follow us on Facebook, Google, or Twitter. We post relevant, timely information regarding insurance and happenings here in South Florida.