What if My Neighbour’s Tree Falls on my Property?
Prince Edward County escaped a direct hit from the severe thunder and windstorm which recently swept through the region. It caused widespread power outages as well as property damage from falling trees and other objects. Can you hold a neighbour responsible for damage occurring to your property if the tree was located on their property?
The neighbour could potentially be held liable if the tree was previously identified as a known hazard, the owner(s) had legally been put on notice to take action, and had failed to do so. Proper documentation regarding the hazard is essential for liability to be triggered.
Often times, in a severe windstorm, even totally healthy trees can be brought down, so liability would not come into play. If the neighbour feels some responsibility, there is a coverage in Section 2 of the Homeowners Policy called Voluntary Damage To Property, which allows the homeowner to compensate the third party up to a modest, limited amount without accepting liability. This is often referred to as a “goodwill” or “good neighbour” coverage.
If the tree fell on a vehicle you own and the vehicle carries comprehensive coverage, the damage would be covered subject to the deductible.
If the fallen tree caused damage to your dwelling, an outbuilding, or any other permanently installed outdoor structure, such as a fence or swimming pool, your own homeowners policy would respond for the necessary repairs to restore the building/structure, once again, subject to the policy deductible. Insurance will cover the removal of the tree from the damaged building/structure, but not for its removal from the property.
Contact your broker for advice and clarification concerning any of the above information.