A tree from my neighbors property damaged my house. Why am I responsible and is there anything I can do to ensure that if it happens again, my neighbors insurance handles it?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 24, 2017

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Insurance Question from Fishkill, NY

Asked on 07/24/2017

A tree from my neighbors property damaged my house. Why am I responsible and is there anything I can do to ensure that if it happens again, my neighbors insurance handles it? A storm damaged a tree in my neighbors yard and cause damage to my house. Although the damage was not extensive (tree removal, electrician had to reattach power lines, all siding ripped off one side), I want to see what my rights are and what I can do to ensure I don't have to go through this again.

Answer given on July 25, 2017

If a neighbor’s tree falls and causes damage to your property, this is often referred to as an “Act of God”. If the neighbor’s tree was healthy and simply went down due to the storm, they are usually not liable for the damages caused.

If the tree(s) are sick or poorly maintained, you can try to file a claim against your neighbor’s insurance. It is best if you have already contacted the neighbor about the trees and any issues with their health or trimming. Do so with a letter and keep a copy for yourself.

If the tree falls, you can file a claim with your insurance company. They will pay for covered damages, less your deductible. However, if they feel the neighbor was negligent with the trees, they can try to subrogate against him and his insurance company. If they are successful, you can get your deductible reimbursed. Talk to your insurance company and/or agent to discuss the issue with the neighbor’s trees.

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