If you have been following our blog for any length of time, you know that we try our best to get you relevant information and tips you can use. We have seen a ton of people checking out our blog post on fallen trees in Cleveland, Ohio and we wanted to follow up with more  tips and new insights that should be helpful to everyone reading! If you haven't read our original lost post, Fallen Trees: Who is Responsible, simply click the link to read it and catch up. Go ahead, we'll be waiting for you while you read that one first! 

Ok, if you don't have time to read our prior article, here's a quick recap about fallen trees and who is responsible. If a tree that is in your yard falls on your home, garage, or other structure should all be covered under your home owners insurance policy. Many times, even the removal of the debris caused by the tree and the removal of the tree itself will be covered up to a certain dollar figure depending on your particular policy. As always, your policy will state the specifics of your coverage and we're happy to read and talk through your policy and your coverage with you in person at our office in Elyria, Ohio or over the phone where we can be reached at 440.233.6199! 

If a tree that is located in your yard falls on your neighbors house in your Cleveland area neighborhood, then typically the neighbors insurance policy will cover the cost to have the tree picked up and repair the damage, but if you were negligent in caring for the tree (the tree was rotted or falling over) then they could go after your insurance policy which is called subrogation. So if you ever hear or an insurance carrier subrogating for costs against another insurance carrier, that's what they mean. 

Now that we have an idea of who is responsible for fallen trees in certain circumstances, let's take a look at some signs and risk factors for trees that may be in your yard or in your neighborhood.

What are some signs of a risky tree?

  • Are there large, dead branches in the tree?

  • Are there detached branches hanging in the tree?

  • Does the tree have cavities or rotten wood along the trunk or in major branches?

  • Are mushrooms present at the base of the tree?

  • Are there cracks or splits in the trunk or where branches are attached?

  • Have any branches fallen from the tree?

  • Have adjacent trees fallen over or died?

  • Has the trunk developed a strong lean?

  • Do many of the major branches arise from one point on the trunk?

  • Have the roots been broken o , injured, or damaged by lowering the soil level, installing pavement, repairing sidewalks, or

    digging trenches?

  • Has the site recently been changed by construction, raising the soil level, or installing lawns?

  • Have the leaves prematurely developed an unusual color or size?

  • Have trees in adjacent wooded areas been removed?

  • Has the tree been topped or otherwise heavily pruned? 

 Fallen Tree, what do you do?

An arborist can help you manage the trees on your property and can provide treatments that may help reduce the risk associated with certain trees. An arborist familiar with tree risk assessment may suggest one or more of the following:

  • Remove the target. While a home or a nearby power line cannot be moved, it is possible to move picnic tables, cars, landscape fea- tures, or other possible targets to prevent them from being hit by a falling tree

  • Prune the tree. Remove the defective branches of the tree. Because inappropriate pruning may weaken a tree, pruning work is best done by an ISA Certified Arborist.

  • Cable and brace the tree. Provide physical support for weak branches and stems to increase their strength and stability. Such supports are not guarantees against failure.

  • Provide routine care. Mature trees need routine care in the form of water, nutrients (in some cases), mulch, and pruning as dictated by the season and their structure.

  • Remove the tree. Some trees with unacceptable levels of risk are best removed. If possible, plant a new tree in an appropriate place as a replacement.

  •  Recognizing and reducing tree risk not only increases the safety of your property and that of your neighbors, but also improves the tree’s health and may increase its longevity.

If you happen to have a tree of your own, or even one that you pass by for that matter, that has come into contact with a power line you need to make sure to contact your local utility or power company. DO NOT attempt to move the tree in any way, you need to leave that up to the professionals. Usually there is no fee associated with having them come out and professionally take care of the situation, so don't think that you'd be saving money by attempting to fix things yourself. It is not safe and you should contact a professional immediately. 

How do you file a claim?

Document as much as you can, so take a lot of pictures to document where the tree ended up and the extent of the damage. You really shouldn't move the tree unless absolutely necessary and you've got the ok from the insurance company before doing so. You also need to take pictures of where the tree was before you moved it and document the damage that the tree did before you moved it as well. When in doubt, take pictures and document the damage! The more details that you can provide to the claims adjuster and the insurance company, the better. You can definitely get estimates to fix the damage and remove the tree, but again you should either work with us as your agent or with the insurance carrier directly before you take your first step. You can read more about filing a fallen tree claim in our original fallen tree article, by clicking here! Shoutout to our friends at treesaregood.org for some awesome resources and content on managing trees and identifying risky trees. 

Connect with Us!

If you have further questions about fallen trees in Ohio, give us a call or shoot us an email today! We want to write posts about your favorite topics, be sure to interact with us on social media and let us know what you would like to see! You can connect with us through the following channels… 

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