by Katrina Mattila

Who is at Fault for a Fallen Tree?


This is an issue that tends to cause a lot of confusion and frustration for many people. If a neighbor’s tree falls on your property, whether it be your home or business, who should have to pay?  Naturally, most people feel that it isn’t their fault, or their tree, so why should their insurance have to pay for the damage?  In most cases it isn’t really anyone’s fault.  The most common reasons trees fall are from storms, which is an act of Mother Nature.

There are cases where your neighbor could be liable if their tree damages your property. For instance, if they are trying to trim the tree or cut down a tree themselves, or in some cases if the tree is visibly diseased or dying and they don’t do anything about it. So how can you best protect yourself in these types of situations? The best thing you can do is provide something in writing to your neighbor that you would like them to remove the tree and provide explanation of what is wrong with the tree.  If at that point they choose not to take down the tree, then it may become their responsibility if it damages your property.  However, if your neighbor’s tree is healthy, but just a little closer to your property then you would like, then that is not a reasonable situation to ask them to take down the tree.

Inspect your trees on a regular basis and take the necessary steps to avoid damage to your property or your neighbors. As always, review your insurance policy so that you understand your coverages in the event of a tree falling on your property or someone else’s. If you have questions be sure to call your agent for clarification.

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