What to do if a fallen tree causes damage

Imagine a tree falling and causing damage to your home, shed or fence. The tree could also fall on your neighbour’s property. What should you do?

Assess the situation

If you’re dealing with a fallen tree, contact your insurance company to get help from an agent. A claims adjuster will check the premises and assess the damage. Based on the information gathered, the claims adjuster can determine the cause of the fallen tree and the liability of all parties involved.

There are two primary causes for fallen trees: An act of God (also known as force majeure), i.e. an environmental cause, or an unhealthy tree.

Cause 1: Environmental

Sometimes, the damage can be the result of Mother Nature unleashing her power, also known as an act of God in the insurance industry. Humans are powerless in the face of nature. That’s why it’s not directly your fault if there is damage. Your neighbour's insurance will cover any damage to his or her roof or car. If damage occurs to your personal property, your insurance will cover it based on the terms of your contract and the situation.

Cause 2: Unhealthy tree

Homeowners are responsible for the health of the trees on their land. They are responsible for ensuring the trees are properly treated or felled if they cannot be treated. If an unhealthy tree falls on your neighbour’s house or car, your civil liability insurance included with your home insurance would cover the expenses. An expert will determine the cause of the fall. In the event of a disagreement between neighbours over the cause of the fallen tree, a judge can make a ruling in court to determine each party’s liability.

Which insurance covers me if a tree falls and causes damage?

Home insurance and Legal Access insurance are two products that provide coverage in this situation. If you are responsible for the fallen tree, your home insurance will cover the damage incurred by the neighbour. Depending on your contract, a deductible may be applied. As for Legal Access insurance, it provides assistance through a lawyer and legal advice related to the dispute. This type of coverage can be added as an option to your insurance contract.

You therefore need to know what caused the tree to fall, which property incurred damage and which insurance will cover the damage.

Contact your insurer for more information.