Trees are like people, they have a lifespan. They grow and they die, often in dramatic fashion. When a tree falls on your house in Connecticut, you have rights to compensation for the costs to secure your property, under your homeowner policy.
Should you choose to file an insurance claim, all homeowner’s policies are designed to cover cutting and removal of a tree off the roof in the event of tree failure on the home. Nearly every policy also covers any permanent structure in the yard for tree removal and damage, including garages, sheds, and fences.
The insurance company’s main goal is preservation of the structure of the home and its contents through immediate tree removal and roof tarping.
Many clients think, at first, that the neighbor will pay for the tree removal, because its the neighbor’s tree, or that their insurance company will send someone right out to see it, for approval. In reality, it is written into every homeonwer’s policy is language that requires that it is your responsibility to get the tree off the house as soon as possible. This means immediately It’s your responsibility to contract with someone to secure and protect the contents and the house from water and rot. And that means getting the tree off the house first. And you have a right to choose who to hire, someone trained, insured and licensed for this type of work.
Now I want to get into an interesting point that a lot of client’s have questions about. Whereas the tree fallen on the house is a line item on your invoice, the the actual debris that is generated, once the tree is cut off the house, is its own separate line item on an insurance claim invoice. What I mean by this, is that while the amount to cut the tree down is variable, and will be paid as long is seems reasonable, the tree debris itself, has a limit that is written into the policy. You need to know this, because if the tree is very large, the tree service may leave you with a ton of material and say there isn’t enough money to cover the debris. Make sure that the contractor you hire has the right equipment to include removal of all the debris generated by the tree, and if the cost of that portion is not fully covered by homeowner’s insurance, perhaps you can to keep the logs or the woodchips somewhere in your yard to reduce costs.
Remember that you have a right to choose whichever Tree Service you trust and whoever is available. Even if you have multiple quotes, you are still allowed to choose whichever company you decide, based on their availability, timeliness and reputation. When you have a tree fall on the house, the next rain storm to flood the holes in the roof is right around the corner. Removing the tree and tarping the roof is the priority. The next step is to call a home repair contractor in for assessment of damage repairs.
By Andrew Bachman, CT and MA certified Arborist. I enjoy teaching responsible tree stewardry, career development in the Green Industry and building my tree care business. My crews and I climbed have removed broken trees after Hurricane Sandy, Halloween Ice storm of 2011, and most recently, the 2018 Danbury/Hamden, CT tornadoes.