Spring is in the air, and while this season often brings with it warmer temperatures, blooming flowers, and school vacation, as New Englanders we know to expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to the weather forecast. And while we hope the weather has officially taken a turn for the best, there is no denying that your trees handled quite a bit this winter. The combination of snow, ice, and below freezing temps takes its toll on your saplings, leaving them susceptible to possible damage now and in the future.
Did you know tree collapses are a common weather-related insurance claim? Not only are they frequent during the winter, the mild temperatures of spring often reveal tree-related damage inflicted by the snow and ice of winter’s past. As the weather begins to change, now is the perfect time to review your current insurance policy to make sure you don’t get stuck with any surprise bills this year. The knowledgeable team at Gilbert Insurance has put together some important tips to help you better prepare and possibly even prevent a tree-related claim.
Safeguard Your Trees
It’s always better to prevent something from happening than to react to the aftermath. Below are a few quick tips to help you properly prepare your trees.
- Prune — Trimming your trees and shrubbery not only keeps them healthy, it also gives you a chance to remove any dead, diseased, or unsafe branches that may cause damage.
- Inspect — Hire a professional arborist to examine your trees for any ice or snow damage. A trained expert can clearly identify what branches are unsafe as well as remove them.
- Fertilize — Fertilizing and mulching your plants helps the soil remain moist and provides your shrubs and trees with the nutrients they need to stand up against harsh weather conditions.
- Remove — It is recommended that any tree limbs or branches that are dead or diseased be removed as they can easily break and cause damage to your property. For those larger branches, we always encourage you to hire a professional.
Fallen Trees and Insurance
If you’ve taken the proper steps to protect your trees, but heavy snowfall, rain, and extreme winds still manage to wreak havoc on your property or vehicle — are you covered?
When it comes to insurance and filing a claim for tree damage, not all claims look alike. If a tree falls because it is rotted, but does not damage your home, you’ll likely have to bear the cost of removing the tree yourself. It is important to note that trees, shrubs, and plants are only covered for specific things like fire, lightning and vehicle damage. However, if a tree falls on your home due to wind and snow, which are perils that are not specified, your homeowner’s coverage will likely pay the cost of removing the tree and repairing the damage.
Filing a Claim
When filing a claim for tree damage, or anything else, it’s important to take the necessary steps to properly document your insurance claim. Below are a few tips to ensure the claims process is fast, smooth and stress-free, so you can get back to living your life that much sooner.
- Take photos from multiple angles to establish the extent and cause of the damage.
- Jot down as many details as possible. Was there a storm? What were the conditions? What was damaged? This information coupled with the photos will help you authenticate what happened.
- Call Your Local Insurance Agent and provide them with all the damage details so they can assist you with the claims process.
In many instances, damages resulting from a fallen tree are covered by your home or auto insurance. However, if you are unsure, now is the perfect time to review your policy with a knowledgeable and trusted, Gilbert Insurance agent, so you can be sure that you are properly covered. Get in touch with us today at (781) 942-2225 or stop by our office at our Reading or Medford location.