Falling Trees: A Risk with Numerous Potential Liabilities

Having trees on a property can improve aesthetics, increase property values and provide much-needed shade on sunny days. Wind blowing through the trees can be quite a pleasant and relaxing sound to listen to, as well. However, when a gentle breeze turns into heavy gusts or strong sustained winds, those lovely trees can drop limbs, become uprooted and cause some devastating damage to nearby structures and property.

As an insurance agent, what do you need to keep in mind regarding trees and the damage they can cause?

Damage caused by trees can vary from minor property damage to auto damage to loss of life. It’s important to get to know your customer, what types of trees they have, how many they have and where they are in relation to structures and parking areas so you can help cover them for whatever the wind may blow their way. If clients have a high number of trees on their property, they will want to make sure their policy covers them for the possible losses that can be caused by them.

Trees on your customer’s property need to be checked on a regular basis. At least once a year, large trees should be checked for any changes that may have occurred. Cracks in the trunk or dead limbs can be signs of an unhealthy or dangerous tree. Improperly trimming or failing to trim trees properly can cause liability on the property owners’ part.

Windstorms are not the only cause of tree damage. While windstorms often cause trees to fall or drop limbs, damage can occur without any wind at all. Rot can cause trees to fall or drop limbs, even on a calm day. Encourage your customers to trim their trees on a yearly or twice-yearly basis to prevent many issues with their trees.

Insurance companies are often only obligated to remove enough of the fallen tree as is necessary to make reasonable repairs to the covered property. Some policies may allow for the removal of the entire tree, but some will leave the remainder of the tree for the homeowner to deal with on their own. In these instances, the property owner would be responsible for removing the remainder of the tree or finding someone to remove it for them.

In some cases, it may be better for the customer to pay the damages themselves. Windstorm deductibles are often on the higher side, and sometimes pay out is only slightly more than the deductible. It may be better for the customer to pay for minor damages on their own, rather than filing a small claim on their policy and causing a possible increase in their premiums.

Knowing what the customer’s property entails and understanding their budgetary limits can help agents find the perfect property insurance coverage for all of their tree-related needs.

About AmSuisse

Formed in 2013, AmSuisse, Inc. has quickly distinguished itself as a wholesale operation that specializes in working very closely with our agents and broker partners to develop responsive, individualized service for each client. Our unparalleled writing support, industry-specific expertise, marketing support, responsive proposals and quotes, strong customer service, and strong relationships with our carrier partners have all helped us to provide the best possible coverage for our clients. To learn more about our available coverage, contact us today at (800) 485-0229 to speak with one of our representatives.