When an oak tree falls in the forest and no one's around to hear it, who cares? But when your neighbor's tree falls on your roof, you'll care—and want to know who is responsible. The bad news is, if your neighbor's tree falls on your property, ultimately, you are responsible. Your homeowners insurance may reimburse you for repairs to your damaged structures, such as your home and a detached garage, and for removing debris—minus the deductible. Unfortunately, your neighbor is NOT responsible for the damage or even the deductible tied to your claim.
Insurers generally limit what they'll pay to remove the tree and it ranges from $500 to $1,000, sometimes more depending on the coverage's you have chosen. If the downed tree did not cause any damage to a structure on your property, you'll have to pay for removal and debris cleanup yourself. There is no claim to be filed, because there is no damage.
What If Your Tree Does Damage Next Door? In the opposite case—a tree from your yard causes damage to the property next door—it's up to your neighbor to put in a claim with his or her insurer.
Are there any exceptions to this? Possibly, if the tree was visibly unhealthy or diseased before falling? You could be responsible for paying for damages because of your neglect in maintaining it? If your insurer determines that you are liable, they'll make a settlement offer to your neighbors and have them sign a release so they can't sue you. Your insurer would cover you up to the limits of your homeowner's liability insurance. Is Damaged Landscaping Covered? What if your trees, shrubs, or other landscaping plants are damaged by your neighbor's tree but no structures were harmed? While you'll have to pay to remove the debris, your homeowners insurance policy could pay up to a specified dollar limit to replace each damaged plant—but only if the damage was caused by certain "named perils." Those could include natural disasters—such as windstorms, lightning, or wildfires—as well as damage created by people outside your household, including vandalism or a car crash. How Can You Proactively Prevent Problems? To keep tree issues from developing, keep trees trimmed. Remove dead branches and cut off any unwanted overhang from your neighbor's tree into your yard. Remove branches that hang over the home or brush up against siding. Most importantly, remove any diseased or dying trees before you or your neighbor is dealing with unwanted damage.