Is Your Big, Beautiful Tree a Highlight or a Hazard?
Stately, mature trees might enhance your home’s curb appeal and possibly even its resale value. According to a Trulia analysis of properties sold in 2018, the median price for homes with trees mentioned in their listing descriptions was nearly 14% higher than the national median.
But if a heavy limb or weakened tree falls, it could cause significant damage to your home or any vehicles parked on the property. Even worse, it could injure someone.
Fall is a good time of year to check and trim the trees on your property, partly because birds are less likely to be nesting. Removing dead branches before winter comes also reduces the risk that wind, snow, or ice will cause them to break.
Consider consulting a professional arborist if you have any doubts about a tree’s health, and watch for the following signs of instability.
- Branches with dead tips
- Cankers, cavities, or decay on large areas of the trunk
- Mounds or divots near roots that indicate rotting
- Two main trunks, or a leaning trunk
- Vertical cracks, particularly where two branches diverge
Fortunately, most homeowners policies cover damage (up to policy limits) from trees or limbs that fall on an insured structure such as your house or garage, as well as removal of the offending tree (typically $500 to $1,000). Your insurance will usually not pay to clean up debris from a tree that falls without causing any damage. Damage to cars may be covered under the optional, comprehensive portion of your auto policy.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2019