Tree disputes can take many forms, such as trees that fall on a neighbor's property and cause damage or circumstances where a neighbor's tree blocks what would be a scenic or otherwise pleasant view. "Even though the tree was growing in your neighbor's yard it was an act of nature that caused the tree to fall, not something your neighbor did," Mott said. Ask them to get the tree inspected by a Certified Arborist and to follow through with whatever recommendations are made. Every major storm brings threats to homeowners. You may also get a discount if you've been a customer for a long period of time, pay in full, are a non-smoker, are married or retired or live in a gated community. My insurance company said that they will cover my property's damage, but that my neighbor's insurance has to cover their damage and that we are not at fault. Or you can call the Board of Tree Experts at (732) 833-0325. Sometimes, a tree falls in a forest and someone does hear it. Karin Price Mueller may be reached at KPriceMueller@NJAdvanceMedia.com. I learned this the hard way when a neighbor's tree fell on my house and we both called our insurance companies, they both said it was my responsibility. Am I covered for damages caused by someone else’s tree? Can they just throw all the branches over the fence into my back yard? Subject to any planning restrictions, such as tree preservation orders, you can do what you like to the trees on your property. Follow NJMoneyHelp on Twitter @NJMoneyHelp. Tree disputes can take many forms, such as trees that fall on a neighbor's property and cause damage or circumstances where a neighbor's tree blocks what would be a scenic or otherwise pleasant view. This situation actually happens quite often. When a tree falls over onto a neighbor's property, a homeowner is often left to wonder if he or she is liable. Patel claimed the roots had started to damage concrete around his property. First of all I urge you to speak to the owner. Talking with your neighbors is always the best place to start. However, if you can prove your neighbor was negligent in caring for the dead or dying tree, it could easily become their insurance company’s problem. “After a hurricane or windstorm, trees, shrubs and branches can become projectiles capable of traveling significant distances and of causing considerable damage to property,” the institute said. Learn more about this in the section on subrogation below. © 2020 Advance Local Media LLC. But let’s say your neighbor’s tree has been a concern of yours over time. Your tree falls on your neighbor’s property causing no damage. If the reverse happens and your neighbor's tree strikes your home, then you file a claim with your own insurance company. If, as a result of your own negligence while performing construction on your property you knock over your own tree, you will likely be held liable for the damage to your neighbor's property. During a recent storm, a branch from my neighbor's tree fell onto my roof. Additional Damages and Criminal Penalties for Only a few feet of this tree landed on your property. If your neighbor’s tree falls during a storm and damages your house, you should still be covered by your homeowners insurance policy. The contractor dug a 3′ trench along the property line, effectively severing a significant portion of roots needed to survive. This is based on hundreds of years of common law. In most cases, your insurance would still pay for the damages. Your neighbor’s insurance would cover the damage, unless your neighbor can prove that you didn’t maintain the trees. Please support local journalism. Also make sure the contractor is insured. “If the neighbor’s tree falls on your house, it’s your problem,” says Gary Blackwell, an independent insurance agent based in Corinth, Maine. If the neighbor took reasonable care of the tree … It looked like it was rotting and you’ve told your neighbor you feared the tree could fall. that the tree's removal caused. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. “In addition, many homeowner policies will not cover injuries or damage done by an under-insured tree care contractor, which may leave the financial burden on the homeowner.”. It may not be removed without the agreement of both. Trees are a common dispute among neighbors. If New Jersey does not have such a law, general New Jersey criminal statutes, such as those related to theft or property damage, may still apply. If you haven't had a review of your current policy in the past couple of years, Mott recommends a meeting with your agent. A damaged tree fell from my neighbor''s yard into mine during a storm. By Jedediah Mannis. (To learn more about damages and criminal penalties in tree injury cases, see Nolo’s article When a Neighbor Damages or Destroys Your Tree.) Even if a construction contractor you hired is the one who caused your tree to fall, you may still be held liable, as long as your neighbor can prove that your negligent direction led to the tree's demise. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. Fallen trees are near the top of every list of potential disasters. I've tried to be a good neighbor, but they have not been due to many other reasons. My Tree Fell on Neighbor's Garage: Who Pays? Who is responsible, when your tree, or a branch from your tree, falls on your neighbor’s garage or fence or shed and causes serious damage? ... You must show that the tree caused some damage to you, whether to your person or to your property. You need to shop around. If the tree trunk is on the property line, you are both equally the owner of the tree. The same rules apply above in that most carriers will not cover the debris removal of a tree that does not cause damage to a covered structure. When a tree falls over onto a neighbor's property, that neighbor should submit a claim to his or her insurance company immediately. But if the tree fell without damaging anything, your insurance probably won’t cover the removal costs, but check your policy. Extreme Weather A hurricane or other high wind event can take 100-year-old trees and rip them out of the ground. My neighbor’s property has 6+ very mature maples on our property line. If leaves, acorns, twigs or other debris from a neighbor’s tree falls onto your property, you are responsible for cleaning this debris up. No damage was done to my house or property. Tree Removal Coverage . Disagreements with neighbors can be difficult. While the law states that the fallen tree in your yard, whether it is yours or not, is your responsibility to remove, your neighbor may be willing to help out. If the tree damaged a structure on your property, your policy will probably cover at least part of the cost to remove the tree. I lost a tree and it fell on part on my neighbor’s fence, and he is becoming a bit belligerent over it. Mott said your policy premium may have increased because you lost a discount that you'd been receiving for being claim-free. Subscribe today », Karin Price Mueller | NJMoneyHelp.com for NJ.com. Patel, Patel (the neighbor) hired a contractor to remove the roots from the large Monterey pine his neighbor (Booska) owned. Subscribe today », Karin Price Mueller | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com. Trees can be a huge source of contention between neighbors, but as a property owner, you do have certain rights. Who's responsible for the repairs and cleanup? There are some things to consider if you have a problem with a tree on a shared property line: In some cases a neighbor's tree may actually block a view of something unpleasant -- such as a garbage collection site or freeway -- and the cutting down of … All rights reserved (About Us). Even though the tree trunk is on your neighbor’s property, anything from the tree that falls onto your property is your … My house insurance has a mandatory 20,000 deductible for damage caused by trees during winds exceeding 115 mph. Second, your neighbor could be held liable for damages, according to FindLaw.Third, if your neighbor doesn’t do anything about it, the tree could be considered a nuisance, and you could file a nuisance claim, FindLaw says. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. I've had five foot branches fall off my health tree into my neighbor's yard due to bad weather. If an otherwise healthy tree or limb fell during a bad storm, the homeowner may be able to rely upon an “act of God” defense. Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboozled column for NJ Advance Media and is the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Plus, some home improvements such as leak sensors, upgraded roofing materials, anti-theft systems can also help reduce premiums, she said. Your neighbors will have to file a claim with their own property insurer if they want to be reimbursed for their loss. Our journalism needs your support. (The Tree Care Industry Association lists accredited tree … The tree fell towards the neighbor, took out a fence near the property line and landed on your neighbors’ roof, damaging it. Get several estimates and check out the company you’re considering hiring. Or, it falls onto your neighbor's property and damages something. If your insurer wins, you might even get back your deductible. One of the best things to do is to regularly have large trees trimmed. Unfortunately for roofs everywhere (not to … I also was pretty confident my neighbor’s insurance company would take care of removing a tree or limb that was on his property and had fallen on my property. Most people assume that they are liable since it is their tree. Your credit score also impacts insurance premium calculations, Mott said. Your tree falls on your neighbor’s property causing no damage. If your property was damaged by a tree, in most cases, your own homeowners insurance will cover the damage, no matter who owned the tree that fell, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). But what you can do is express concern that his or her tree is at risk of damaging your property the next time a … When that happens, their homeowners insurance company will usually be the one to hear about it.. Dr. Robert Hartwig, President of the Insurance Information Institute (III) knows first-hand how homeowners insurance can become involved when one of your trees falls … If your tree falls onto a neighbor's property, it might not make a sound, but you may be liable. Here's another key point. Finally, if the cause of the damage to your property is the fault of a neighbor, for example, if a neighbors tree fell on your property or home, your insurance company may make you pay the deductible at first but may try and get the deductible back from your neighbor to reimburse you. Each case has its own nuances. Your property is your responsibility, so it’s best to inspect your trees every year for signs of disease or damage. As a property owner, one has an obligation to regularly inspect their property and remove or repair anything that may present a risk of harm to others. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. It might seem unfair that if it’s your neighbor’s tree that damages your home, you should have to pay. However, solution are not always easy, cheap, or friendly. However, many … You can visit the board’s website for a tool that lets you check lists of businesses to see who has the correct certifications and who doesn’t. A lot of people call us and say, hey, this tree fell from my neighbors house into our yard, and I want you to give us an estimate and we’ll give it to them. City governments often step in to take care of, or make the owner take care of, dangerous trees. If the tree damaged a structure on your property, your policy will probably cover at least part of the cost to remove the tree. If the tree was left in a state of decay and that condition caused its fall, then your neighbor is liable to you for the cost of repairing the damage to your house and for the removal of the tree from your property coupled with the damage to your garden, grass, etc. Our neighbor’s trees may often become troublesome, either because their branches block sunlight, yield unwanted pollen, acorns or leaves, or because they create a risk of injury or property damage. Patti Sapone | NJ Advance Media. I’m pretty sure this tree was on my neighbor’s property. It's up to you to get rid of it. Suppose you come out of your home after a thunderstorm and one of your trees has fallen across the property line and is sitting on top of your neighbor's house. Patel claimed the roots had started to damage concrete around his property. "You'll want to address the question about the tree falling just to be sure you have no recourse, but it is more important to double check that you are getting all the discounts you are eligible for and that the profile of your home is correct," she said. My neighbor's tree looks dead, and I'm worried it will fall on my house. "In general, the age, size, replacement cost of your home, credit score and type of construction are all going to factor into the calculation," she said. Tell them you're worried about their tree and why. The question here again is the reason for the fall of the tree. “In most cases, an insurance company is not going to spend time trying to figure out where a tree or branches originally came from.”. Ornamental or landmark trees can have a … My Neighbor’s Tree Roots Damaged My Driveway When wayward roots threaten people’s properties, it can be hard to spur the owner to action. Neighbor’s Trees Overhanging Your Property? 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