I had a tree removed without a written contract and when I got the bill the Insurance company will not pay full amount.

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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: Dec 20, 2011

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Insurance Question from Forest Hill, VA

Asked on 12/20/2011

I had a tree removed without a written contract and when I got the bill the Insurance company will not pay full amount. After hurricane Irene I had the James River Tree Service remove a tree that had fallen on my shed. I never signed a contract with JRTS and I got a bill for $5200. I submitted the bill to my insurance company (State Farm) which will only pay $3000. From what I can tell the $5200 bill is way too much for removing the tree. Am I liable for the difference?

Answer given on December 20, 2011

In the homeowner insurance policy tree removal or coverage is limited. Most insurance companies have a dollar limit that they will pay for tree removal. In addition, the tree must be on a part of the home or other structure before there is any coverage provided. Usually, the deductible on the policy does not apply, but sometimes that too is applied to the tree coverage.When you submitted your claim to the insurance company the adjuster and/or yout agent should have explained the limitations in the policy so you would be aware of the amount of insurance your policy will pay. However, you probably have a copy of your policy that indicates the limits of the policy. The charge from the tree service is not necessarily high, since the cost for them to take down a tree is based on the size of the tree and equipment needed to do so. A signed contract is not necessarily required, but they should have told you the amount they would charge for the removal. You should talk to the tree company to see if there is any adjustment they will give you.

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