Trees are pretty amazing things. They produce oxygen. They serve as natural air conditioners, both by blocking sunlight and through evaporation. And they even absorb sounds, helping to keep things peaceful.
These benefits, along with countless others, are great reasons to keep the trees on your property in good shape. Looking for another? Unhealthy trees can actually pose great danger to your home and property, as well as to your family and other people.
With these tips from the National Arbor Day Foundation, you can help prevent tree trouble – and potentially save yourself from a home insurance claim:
1. Inspect trees frequently. The size, color, and condition of leaves, and overall leaf cover, are good indicators of a tree’s health. Cavities or disfiguration can be a warning sign, although they don’t always mean a tree is a hazard. Just keep a close eye on it. Dead branches are a big risk, because they can fall easily. Those that cross or rub can create weak spots.
2. Plant in an appropriate space. Putting in a tree that will grow to be large? Don’t put it near power or sewer lines, or close to your home. And avoid brittle trees (like silver maples and willows) – their limbs are weak and more likely to break and fall.
3. Prune correctly. Cut outside the branch collar, and prune regularly as trees age. Don’t allow a tree to be topped.
4. Leave it to an expert. Once a year, have a qualified arborist thoroughly evaluate the trees on your property. An arborist can identify ones that need to come down immediately, as well as those to watch. In particular, trees that have been topped, or that have lost large limbs unexpectedly, could cause trouble. Taking down trees can be very dangerous, so leave it to a professional.
5. Remember, you’re responsible. Property owners are generally responsible when their dead trees and branches trees cause damage or injury to others. So keep your trees healthy, your space beautiful and your liability low!
Did you know, if a seemingly healthy tree or branch falls and damages your neighbor’s property, you are not responsible for this damage, as you could not have prevented it. It is an act of god, as we say. Imagine a tornado where all sorts of things blow into the homes. You could not find the owners of all the debris. Each homeowner’s policy covers the home it insures.
When a tree falls in your yard and does not hit a structure, you may or may not have coverage through your homeowners policy for removal. If you’d like to discuss your coverage, please give us a call today. It may be a good time to think about adding extra liability coverage to your insurance portfolio with an umbrella policy.