Blog Importance of Tree Trimming and Protecting Your Property

Importance of Tree Trimming and Protecting Your Property

Written by Leah Bright—Insurance Agent

November 10, 2021 · Personal Lines

Tree trimming keeps your trees healthy and prevents potential damage to your home and property.

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Did you know that tree trimming is best done during the winter when your trees are dormant? If your trees are pruned anywhere between spring and fall, you are actually encourage them to grow.  

Pruning is a vital aspect of tree care, and you shouldn’t overlook it. 

Why do my trees need to be pruned? 

There are quite a few reasons to have your trees pruned periodically.  

Minimizes the likelihood of limbs dropping naturally. 

Some tree species are known to drop unhealthy limbs naturally. You can minimize the number of shed branches by periodically having weak or unruly branches pruned. By doing so, limbs that would cause stress to the tree in dry conditions are removed. 

The trees most notorious for shedding limbs are gum trees, which are found throughout the United States. As far as we can tell, gum trees shed their limbs when they’re healthy but are under stress due to a lack of water. You can’t predict what limbs will drop when either. The tree seems to choose a random limb and will isolate it from the tree’s water supply. Isolating limbs helps the tree save water but will cause the branch to drop off eventually. 

One client I’ve worked with told me a story about their experience with a gum tree. They were relaxing in their camper when, out of nowhere, a large branch fell off a gum tree and hit their camper. They had no idea it was going to happen. 

Prevents rot, decay, illness, and even tree death. 

Pruning trees doesn’t necessarily act as an anti-cold vitamin, but pruning can prevent the spread of disease. Tree limbs with open wounds or gouges are a perfect entryway for bacteria, fungus, and other gross plant diseases. 

If a tree is infected, a professional can prune the dead and infected branches to prevent the disease from spreading further. Doing so also encourages your tree to send resources to areas that will effectively fight the disease. 

Avoid serious damage caused by windstorms. 

By keeping your trees’ branches in good shape, you can minimize damage caused during a severe windstorm. Granted, you can’t completely avoid windstorm damage: there’re always news stories about windstorms knocking down entire. However, you can lower the chances of catastrophe. 

From minor dents to death… 

In my time as an insurance agent for campgrounds, hunting lodges, bed & breakfasts, and glamping resorts, I’ve seen a little bit of everything. 

For example, I once had a client submit a claim for a tree branch that fell on the backslider of a brand-new RV. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it caused several thousand dollars in damage.  

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve had clients report a death because of falling trees. During a bad storm, a tree on a nearby property fell and landed on a tent with two campers inside. Both died.  

In litigation, the courts might find the campground had a duty to warn the campers. A claim like this could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and go on for years. 

What happens after I file a tree claim? 

Filing the claim is only the first step. From there, your insurance carrier examines the details and uses case law to determine whether the claim was caused by ‘an act of god.’ The carrier also spends time to find who may be at fault. 

In best-case scenarios, you can settle outside of court. However, if attorneys are involved, the claims process can become far more expensive and take much longer than it would otherwise. 

Keep in mind that even though your insurance can help cover tree-related claims, you should still try to avoid them as much as possible. If you file multiple claims in a year, your premium may increase, and, in a worst-case scenario, you could be considered too high-risk for your carrier and be dropped from your plan. You would then have to find a new, more expensive carrier in a challenging insurance market. 

How can I prevent filing tree-related claims? 

As you've probably figured out by now, the best way to prevent tree-related claims is to keep your trees in good health. The best way to keep trees healthy is by hiring an arborist to regularly come in and give them the complete care they need. 

Hiring an arborist might seem unnecessary but keep in mind that arborists are literal experts in trees and know exactly how to keep them safe and in good shape. Additionally, arborists only visit every three to five years when you have fully matured trees, and the average price for property-wide tree maintenance is $427. Granted, this is a very rough estimate and can be subject to vary based on your location, arborists near you, and the size of your property. 

Ultimately, you can decide whether an arborist is worth it by asking yourself whether the cost of occasionally hiring an arborist outweighs legal fees and court costs if you’re faced with severe litigation. 

Finally, don’t forget to document — reach out to me for your free tree maintenance plan. 

Contact Leah Bright

Review your current home insurance policy and see if you are protected from tree falls

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Call: (605) 423-4361