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Wood Acres Tree Specialists
1 Metropolitan Court, Gaithersburg, MD 20878
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Regular Tree Care: Your Best Insurance Against Storm Damage

Unhealthy trees damaged by storm (note fungus on trunks)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (Oct. 29-30, 2012) many trees were downed due to the high winds and heavy rains in Maryland and Washington DC. Waterlogged soil in combination with powerful sustained wind and gusts are a deadly combination for large trees – especially when unhealthy to begin with and in close proximity to property.

The best way to “insure” against surprise tree removal costs or litigation from neighbors is to get your Maryland or DC trees assessed by a local tree service employing certified arborists, like Wood Acres Tree Specialists, before the next storm and have documentation that your trees are healthy.

Every homeowner should maintain and be responsible for their trees and property – and not depend on homeowner’s insurance because in the long run – tree care is a lot less expensive:

  • First, carefully review your insurance policy for coverage? and see what position your carrier takes in the event of a fallen tree. If you don’t understand the language, ask your agent to clarify.? If you’re near the coast, check if you have a hurricane deductible. The hurricane deductible was created after there was increased coastal development ( & thus greater risk). It forces the policyholder to share more of the risk with the insurer. It usually is from 1%-5% of the insured value of your home and could force you to pay $1,000’s before your deductible coverage kicks in.
  • Insurance coverage depends on where the tree falls and if it produces damage. Usually, the structure it falls on, regardless of whose tree it is, is the insurance that pays for it. If it falls on a car and you have comprehensive auto insurance, that car insurance covers the damage. If a tree just falls in your yard and doesn’t damage anything, insurance does not cover removal. Depending on the size of the tree – that can be a major expense for you.
  • What if it’s along a public road and falls in the road? The exception is a tree along a well-traveled right-of-way. Most local jurisdictions are responsible for maintenance and removal.
  • If your neighbor knew he had a dead tree that was dangerous and that caused the damage, your insurance company may try to seek reimbursement for the claim (subrogation) because he was negligent.
  • The amount of insurance coverage may vary and is limited (policies vary) and it doesn’t matter whether 1 tree fell or 10 as it is based on the “event”.
  • Damage to your trees is generally very limited and is normally not covered or is capped at 5% of the structure’s coverage for one item
  • Contact insurance right away and always photograph damage before minor repairs so you can prove your loss.
  • If you sue your neighbor, this is a long road: you would have to file suit and prove it was negligence, not an Act of God – this is difficult to do and results in a lengthy trial and legal bills. Best course is to talk to your neighbor and propose sharing the cost of removal.
  • If you file an insurance claim, know that you could face possible non-renewal next year or an increase in your premium.

If you have questions or wish to file a complaint about insurance, here is additional information for Maryland and Washington DC.

Contact Wood Acres Tree Specialists today to get your trees assessed before the next serious storm.? There is a greater chance of mitigating pitfalls and disruption in your life if your trees come down. Forewarned is forarmed.

Wood Acres Tree Specialists can access your mature trees.

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