My neighbor's tree fell on my property during a storm. Who is responsible for paying for the damage?
Generally, in Maryland, the cost of removing the tree and repairing any property damage falls to the owner of the property that sustained the damage. A homeowner can be held liable if a tree on the homeowner’s property presents a danger to abutting properties and the homeowner knew or should have known about the deteriorating condition of the tree. Often this type of damage is covered by homeowners insurance. Homeowners should review their insurance contracts to find out what is specifically covered under their policy.
Read the Case: Hensley v. Montgomery County, 25 Md. App. 361, 364 (1975).
Should my homeowner's insurance cover damage from fallen trees?
If you have homeowners insurance, your policy may cover up to $500 towards tree removal. This limit of coverage applies to ALL the downed trees per loss and is not paid on a per tree basis. So regardless of whether you have two trees or 12 trees come down from the storm, you will receive only one payment from your insurance company, usually in the amount of $500.
If you have homeowners insurance and a tree(s) falls on a covered dwelling (your home) or other structure, your insurance should cover the cost to remove the tree from the damaged structure. This would be paid under the dwelling portion of your policy. The tree(s) will then be placed on the ground for removal. The removal of the tree(s) usually will be included in the lump sum payment of $500 for tree removal.
If a tree(s) falls on your property and does not damage any part of your insured dwelling or other structures, you will only receive payment for what your policy allows for general tree removal.
Read the Maryland Insurance Administration brochure on Weather Related Damage: Frequently Asked Questions About Insurance Coverage
Does homeowner's insurance cover flood damage?
General homeowners policies DO NOT insure you against flood damage. Flood insurance is provided by the Federal government under a program run by the National Flood Insurance Program. Although it is a Federal program, you may contact your agent or insurance company to obtain information or visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency website.
Does homeowner insurance cover water seepage?
If water seeps into your basement from the ground, you are generally NOT covered for the resulting damage. Water seepage is excluded under most homeowners policies. If the water seepage is not the result of a flood, you will not have coverage under your flood policy either. Problems from seepage are considered maintenance issues and are not covered by insurance.