I have noticed that my neighbour has a couple of dead/dying trees in his backyard. Who’s insurance pays if his tree falls on my building?
This is a timely question. A small beetle called the Emerald Ash Borer has migrated across Ontario from Windsor up to Ottawa, killing most Ash trees in it’s path. Bill Buchanan, from Buchanan Expert Tree Care, warns us that the wake of destruction caused by this beetle will change our landscape for years to come. In addition, these standing dead trees pose a potential for severe damage to not only buildings, but people too! Dead Ash trees start to decompose quickly says Bill. And generally, they start to decompose near the ground first. These trees can be at risk of toppling over in less than two years from dying. And since they rot near the ground, the trees often fall without warning. A windstorm, freezing rain or even a perfectly sunny day may result in a tree suddenly falling on buildings or humans.
If you are worried about your neighbour’s tree falling on your home, you should warn your neighbour and ask him to remove it. If the tree does fall on your home, it will be your own home insurance that responds to your damage. In some circumstances, where you can show that you had requested your neighbour to remove the tree, and he did not comply, your insurer may be able to recoup your deductible from his insurer and reimburse you. Negligence has to be shown. Otherwise, you will be responsible for your deductible. And generally, the clean up of the fallen tree is not covered by insurance as this is considered maintenance.
While I have referred to the issue with Ash trees, this would of course apply to any tree that is dead or dying. With the Emerald Ash Borer having passed through our area already, any remaining standing Ash are of serious concern. Your Independent Insurance Broker is there to help you. Be sure to give him/her a call if you have any insurance questions and a Master Arborist can provide you with advice regarding the removal or safety of trees.