Who's responsible if a tree falls on your house?

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - According to the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII), if a tree falls, the responsibility to pay for any damages to personal property lies with the owner of the damaged property, not the tree's owner.

Mary Bonelli, the senior vice president of the OII, said it's a common misconception that the person who owned the tree would have to pay for any damages it created – but it's just that - a misconception.

"Your belongings that are damaged as a result of the falling tree due to wind or lightning strikes, that's whether it's your tree or it's a neighbor's tree, these losses are covered under your homeowner's insurance policy," said Bonelli.

Bonelli said, in general, that applies to homeowners, rental and auto insurance.

"Your insurance company has been through this so many times and they can help walk you through this and calm you down and advise you on the best process. They're also concerned about your safety as well so they're going to make sure you have a place to stay," said Bonelli.

She said that insurance companies will usually cover additional living expenses or ALE incurred if, for example, a home is unable to be lived in.

Bonelli recommended keeping receipts for things that could be reimbursable.

She also recommended checking in advance what types of things your insurance covers before you have to use it.

"It's a hard lesson to learn and it's a heartbreaking one but it's important to understand before you have a loss what's covered and what's not covered under your policy. Whether it's an auto insurance policy, a homeowners policy, whatever. So, that if you think you may not have coverage if you have question on that coverage to contact your agent or your company and have that discussion to make sure you're covered based on your specific needs," said Bonelli.

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