Neighbors tree caused damage - no coverage due to act of God?

8 Replies

So the neighbor directly across the street from me, had a big chunk of a tree break off during a storm and fall across the power lines and road (and into my tenant's yard). When the tree hit the power lines, it pulled a metal post out of the roof of my rental, as well as the shingles around it. The owner's insurance company, called me and said they won't cover the damage because it was an act of God. To anyone on here with insurance as a background, does this sound correct? Thanks in advance.

Good luck we had the same broker/carrier for many properties. During a wind storm a huge 6-8inch diameter branch blew in from God knows where & went through our roof. They gave us the same excuse & we ate it. When we checked the roofing we decided to do a complete 7 course tear off & completely re-sheet the circa 1830's building. $12k of roofing so we sold it for double we originally paid. 

I actually have some properties with insurance policies that specifically exclude roofing coverage & have saved a lot on premiums.

@Pat L.

Strange! I thought that is why we have insurance. I'm going to look at the damage closer tomorrow. Depending on how extensive it is, I may try and file it with my own insurance company if the neighbors do not want to work out in agreement.

CJ M What they told you is exactly correct. Unless you can show evidence that: 1. the tree was rotted or damaged before the storm (determined by an expert) 2. the owner of the property was aware of that damage 3. chose not to do anything about it. It is extremely rare that you can show the above conclusively enough to make it a liability matter. Your policy should cover the damage. They may also pay for the debris removal up to the limit in the policy.

@Pat L.

Thanks everyone. I cannot prove the tree was rotted. I'm just going to eat the cost, but I did think of another insurance question. If I was to claim this on my insurance, would all of my other policies with that same company be affected? In other words, would I risk the premiums on all of my other rentals going up too?

Originally posted by @CJ M. :

@Pat L.

Thanks everyone. I cannot prove the tree was rotted. I'm just going to eat the cost, but I did think of another insurance question. If I was to claim this on my insurance, would all of my other policies with that same company be affected? In other words, would I risk the premiums on all of my other rentals going up too?

I would defer that to your broker...we have over 50 with the same broker BUT different carriers & we have high deductibles. 

@CJ M. We had this 100+ year old oak fall from one of our rental properties on Jun 1 this year and crushed the neighbors Kubota, boat and garage. By the time I got there his insurance company had already ordered the tree removal company to come remove the tree. I said wait, I haven't even talked to my insurance company yet and their agent said your insurance doesn't cover anything past the property line. I was shocked. It cost almost $7,000 to remove the tree and I didn't pay a penny. @John Mocker is correct, since there was no sign that the tree had damage my neighbors insurance covered all the damage to his property.