Trees are an essential part of our lives, providing us with shade, oxygen, and pleasant landscapes. But what if one of those trees decide to give up and fall on your property or house? Unfortunately, this is a common scenario, especially during large storms with high winds. But the real question is, what should be your next step? Don't worry; we've got you covered! In this article, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about insurance, from the legal obligations of insurance companies to the payment process for tree services. So, sit back, grab a drink, and keep reading!
Types of Damages Covered
To understand the context of insurance, it's essential to know that there are two types of damages caused by fallen trees: 'acts of God' and negligence. When a tree falls due to events out of human control, such as natural disasters, it's considered 'an act of God,' and hence, you're not responsible for any damages. However, if the tree falls due to negligence, such as the tree was merely dead, decaying, or diseased, the damage could have been avoided by taking necessary precautions. In this case, the owner of the tree would be responsible for the damages.
Submitting a Tree Damage Claim
Now, when the blame game is over, and the damages are assessed, it's time to reach out to your insurance company. It's essential to note that not all insurance policies cover tree damage. Before agreeing to any policy, carefully examine the coverage and speak to your agent to have a better understanding. If your policy covers tree damages, you will submit a claim to your insurance company.
The claim process is simple, and typically it involves an adjuster from the insurance company assessing the damages, sometimes by coming to your property and sometimes from gathered photos. They may also take photos and ask for invoices from the services you acquire, such as tree removal and damage repairs. Based on their assessment, they will then provide a payout, including the damages and expenses incurred.
It is important to note that in some situations an adjuster may not be able to come to your property before preventative measures must be carried out to prevent further damage to the home. This is mostly common when a large storm has caused much damage to many properties within an area. In this case the insurance company will pay back preventative measures that are necessary and within reason. Be sure to take as many photos, document damages, and get multiple quotes to make sure that you are paying market rates so that the payout from the insurance company cannot be disputed.
Legal Obligations of Insurance Companies
Homeowners insurance companies have an legal obligation to cover damages caused by a tree falling on your house. However, the extent of coverage may vary depending on the specific policy and circumstances. Generally, homeowners insurance policies cover damage caused by falling trees or branches due to natural occurrences such as storms, strong winds, or ice buildup. This type of coverage is usually referred to as "peril coverage".
In addition to covering the cost of repairing any structural damage to your home, insurance companies may also cover the cost of removing the fallen tree and any debris that resulted from it. Some policies may also provide coverage for damaged personal belongings or temporary living expenses if you are unable to stay in your home while repairs are being made.
Tree services can be expensive, and it's essential to verify that the company you hire is insured. An insured tree service will ensure that the work is done correctly, and if anything goes wrong, they are accountable. It's crucial to get a written estimate from the tree service before they start working if any dispute occurs down the road.
The payment process to the tree service is usually straightforward. You will need to submit the invoice to your insurance company, and they will pay out the agreed amount directly to the tree service. However, this is only if the tree removal or damage repair falls within the coverage of your insurance policy.
Avoiding Predatory Tree Services
It is important for homeowners to be wary of predatory tree services that may take advantage of these situations and charge exorbitant rates. These unethical practices can lead to financial strain and frustration for homeowners who are already dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster. Several companies local to Grand Rapids have been in legal trouble for charging above market rates, leading to customers having large debts and even liens put on their homes.
It is crucial for homeowners to do their research and find reputable tree services that offer fair rates, even during emergencies. Additionally, it is recommended to have a plan in place for emergency tree services before a disaster strikes to avoid being pressured into hiring an untrustworthy company.
It is important to remember that Grand Rapids emergency tree services can be a costly affair for homeowners and property owners. This is due to the high risk involved in the job, last minute scheduling, hazard pay for employees, and specialized equipment required for the task. Oftentimes, emergency tree services are needed in urgent situations such as after severe storms or accidents. In these scenarios, companies have to respond quickly and may have to work during non-business hours, resulting in additional costs. Moreover, tree removal or trimming can be a dangerous job, requiring highly skilled and trained workers who may demand hazard pay for the risk involved.
Always do your due diligence before hiring any tree service to avoid potential financial and emotional stress during already difficult times. Additionally, consider reaching out to friends and family for recommendations or contacting your insurance company for a list of recommended tree services in case of emergencies. By being prepared and aware, homeowners can avoid falling prey to predatory tree services and ensure the safety and wellbeing of their property.
What to do if Your Insurance Company Denies Payment
If you believe that your homeowners insurance company has illegally denied payment for a claim, there are several steps you can take to address the situation.
Review your policy: Begin by reviewing your policy documents in detail. Make sure that the denial of payment is not due to a specific exclusion listed in your policy or any other valid reason.
Seek legal advice: If you still believe that your insurance company has acted illegally, it is important to seek legal advice. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process of challenging the denial.
File a complaint: In Michigan you can file a complaint with the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS). They have the authority to investigate and take action against insurance companies that engage in illegal practices.
Consider mediation: Some states offer a mediation program for insurance disputes. This can be a less costly and time-consuming alternative to filing a lawsuit.
File a lawsuit: If all else fails, you may need to file a lawsuit against your insurance company. Your attorney can help you determine the best course of action and represent you in court.
Document everything: Throughout this process, it is important to keep a record of all communication and documentation related to your claim and the denial of payment. This can be valuable evidence if you do end up in court.
Stay informed: It's important to stay updated on any developments or changes in your case. Your attorney should keep you informed, but you may also need to regularly check in with the Department of Insurance and Financial Services.
The Importance of Preventative Care
It is worth mentioning that prevention is always better than relying on insurance coverage after an incident has occurred. Homeowners should regularly inspect their trees and take necessary measures to ensure they are healthy and not at risk of falling. This could include trimming dead branches, removing trees that are too close to the house, or consulting with an arborist for professional advice. Visit our pages on tree trimming and pruning, tree removal, fertilization, and arborist consultation to learn more about how property maintenance can save you in the long run!
Insurance can be daunting, but it's a necessary step to protect ourselves in case of an unfortunate eventuality. If a tree ever falls on your property or house, don't panic, the claim process is simple, and the payment process to the tree service is straightforward. Just remember to read the policy carefully, document the damages, and hire an insured tree service. Staying informed and acting promptly can make a significant difference in getting your beloved property back to its former glory without breaking the bank. Be prepared for emergencies and save our number: (616) 277- 7164!