How To File Insurance Claims For Emergency Tree Removal And Storm Damage
In some cases, when a tree falls onto a home or other structure, the homeowner may decide to file a claim under their homeowner policy. The decision to file a claim is entirely up to the homeowner, but most homeowners will file a claim if there is damage of any kind.
In the event a claim is filed, homeowners should look for a reputable tree service with experience in handling insurance claims. When responding to a tree emergency, most tree services assign a random price to the job and hope that insurance will pay for it. At TREES BY JAKE, we are experienced with direct billing insurance carriers and are able to navigate through the insurance claim process in the Tulsa area. We are familiar with policy coverages, including what may or may not be covered, and invoices are itemized for clarity.
Determining Property Damage From Fallen Trees
Unfortunately, property damage caused by fallen trees can be one of the most misunderstood coverages and as a result, there are still common misconceptions that persist when it comes to removing a fallen tree from a house or structure and filing an insurance claim. Below are some of the most common questions from clients when it comes to a tree emergency and filing a claim.
What Is The Purpose Of A Homeowner Or Property Policy?
The purpose of this type of policy is so in the event of a loss (something that causes damage to the property), the insurance company indemnifies the property owner (brings the property owner back to pre-loss condition).
What Types Of Coverage Apply For Tree Damage To A Property?
Two of the most common coverage types in a property insurance policy are Coverage A and Coverage B. Coverage A typically covers the home or the main dwelling/structure. Typically, there is no limit for tree removal other than the limit of the policy. Coverage B typically covers other structures such as fences, sheds, etc. Coverage B is usually limited to a percentage of Coverage A to both remove the fallen tree AND repair or replace the structure. For example, if a tree falls onto a detached garage and Coverage A is $100,000 and Coverage B is 10% of Coverage A, the insurance company would pay $10,000 to both remove the tree and repair the garage. Any cost over $10,000, the homeowner would be responsible for. Coverage A and B should not be confused with debris hauling, which is the removal of the debris from the premises. Most policies limit debris hauling to either $500 or $1,000. Debris hauling is different than the actual cost of lifting or removing the tree from the structure. Other tree removal may be covered if it is required to provide a safe work zone per OSHA or for ingress and egress to the fallen tree.
Do Homeowners Need To Get “pre-approval” Or Permission Before Removing A Tree From A Home Or Structure?
No. A policy holder actually has a duty to prevent further damage and mitigate loss as soon as possible. Removing a fallen and/or damaged tree from a home of structure is considered mitigation, not repair work. Trees that fall onto homes or structures weigh thousands of pounds and are usually in precarious situations where the tree could shift or move is not stabilized as soon as possible. Homeowners do not need to obtain permission from their insurance company before hiring an emergency response tree crew.
Do Homeowners Need To Obtain Multiple Estimates Before Hiring A Tree Service To Respond To A Tree Emergency?
No. In fact, the homeowner is required to take reasonable measures to keep both people and property safe and waiting for multiple estimates could put the homeowner is a dangerous situation or cause further property damage.
Is Stump Griding Covered?
Stump grinding may be covered if the stump and/or root disrupts the property. Most often, stump griding may be covered in cases where the tree is completely uprooted and brings property, like a fence, sidewalk, or sprinkler system, with it. For the insurance company to properly indemnify the homeowner, the root ball will have to be removed so that there is a safe work area and so that the fence, sidewalk, sprinkler system, etc. can be properly repaired.
Billing Directly To Insurance For An Emergency Tree Service
At TREES BY JAKE, we have streamlined our emergency response system so that there is no need for an estimate when a tree has fallen onto a structure or other property. Once our contract is signed, we are able to dispatch a crew immediately to assist with your tree emergency and we will bill your insurance carrier directly.
The above information discusses only the generalities of property insurance and is not legal advice nor definitive information regarding coverage. Each policy is different, and homeowners should review their specific policy with an attorney or licensed public adjuster if needed.
Tulsa Tree Service
TREES BY JAKE has been providing tree removal services in Tulsa for over a decade. Jake is a Tulsa Certified Arborist and we have a variety of equipment to safely and efficiently remove trees. Call or text us today for your free estimate at 918-500-9955 and don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!