How to deal with downed trees depends quite a bit on the circumstances and what's involved. For instance, if a tree falls on a fence away from your home, as well as away from your neighbors', you'll probably need to do chain like fence removal and replacement. Another example is if a downed tree does fall onto someone else's property. The question of who pays: you, out-of-pocket, or your homeowners insurance comes into play.
How to Deal with Downed Trees
What doesn't change is the fact you'll have to deal with a downed trees, in one way or another. It could involve having to remove hedges near a house damaged by a fallen tree or more serious and costly repairs. Whether it's just age, a flood, high winds, a tornado, heavy snow and ice, or tropical system, trees fall for many reasons. Some species, such as water oak (which begin to rot at about 50 years-old), fall because of age and natural condition.
There are some questions that we don't think to ask until we're faced with the question right now. When we have to ask those questions, we're forced to trust the word of somebody else instead of taking time to do our own research. Have you ever thought about who pays when a tree falls? Does your homeowners insurance pay and what are the stipulations? What if it falls onto the street or even worse, your neighbor's roof? What if it falls onto a car? If you're like 82% of the respondents in a recent poll, you don't know who pays for a downed tree. --Investopedia.com
Other species of trees are more resilient but still pose a danger to people and property in the wake of inclement weather or a bad storm. Some trees display clear signs of potentially toppling, such as bare branches and mechanical damage. Still, in most cases, it's not possible to know when or which direction a tree will fall but when you do have to address the problem, you need to know how to deal with downed trees:
- Document the scene well. The first order of business in dealing with a downed tree is to document the scene and document it well. Take plenty of photos and notes detailing the scene. This documentation will come in handy if you need to file an insurance claim or may enter into a lawsuit against another property owner.
- Contact your homeowners insurance company. If the tree is on your property, regardless of where it's fallen, you'll need to contact your homeowners insurance company. Supply your insurance company with all the information, including your documentation.
- Take proactive steps to protect your property. In situations where a tree falls on your home, your duty is to prevent further damage. Most homeowners insurance policies require you to take all steps to prevent further damage because the policy won't cover subsequent damage.
- Ensure the area around the tree is safe. If you need to cut the fallen tree up to dispose of it, be sure the area is safe for working. Power lines and other hazards pose a real safety concern and it's best to leave it up to professionals.
- Cut the tree up into small sections. If you are able to cut the tree up, form a plan of attack. It also helps to have at least one set of helping hands when cutting up a downed tree, not only for convenience, but also to make it less laborious.
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