How To Cut Down A Tree... My Neighbor's Tree!

Posted by Nick Gann

Oct 19, 2015 10:46:47 PM

Money is made of linen and cotton. Linen and cotton are from plants. So money doesn't grow on trees, it grows on plants. I want one! What I don't want is my neighbor's large, branches-everywhere, jungle-looking tree falling on my fence or car, or my house - costing me money. Regardless if it makes a noise or not, someone's responsible, and gonna pay!

I'm not sure how he'd respond if he caught me cutting down his tree, while standing in his yard. I can trim the branches that are hanging over my place, but cutting the entire tree down... in his yard... probably wouldn't go over well.

This is an uncomfortable place to be. No one wants to create a negative environment with a neighbor. Pointing out their potentially dangerous tree isn't an easy conversation, but it needs to happen, and here's how:

First things first, take pictures. Lots of pictures. Pictures showing where the tree lives, where it overhangs, what it overhangs. Date the pics. Save them to a computer with a date in the name, or write on the back if you choose to print.

my neighbors tree might fall on my house

Notice how the tree is growing from the left side of the fence, yet clearly leaning over the neighbor's house on the right.

2nd, politely ask, while in casual conversation, if there's anyway you could talk him into trimming it back or even cutting it down. Maybe even offer to help pay (up to your deductible amount). Why offer to pay? Because if that tree damages your property, and he isn't found to be in neglect, you'll not only be out the deductible, you'll have to deal with the damage anyway. It's just an idea.

I once had someone accidentally drive their car into my office, causing all sorts of damage. It was all paid for by her insurance, but it was still a nuisance, a huge inconvenience to me.

You can head off a potential home insurance claim by offering to pay up to your deductible amount in order to trim or cut down the tree.

Take notes of this conversation: date, time, location, how you offered to offset the cost, and your neighbor's response.

Lastly, once the first 2 steps are complete, send a certified or registered letter to your neighbor requesting the tree be trimmed or cut down to prevent damage to your property. You can even send pics with the letter. This gives proof of request. It shows that you tried.

No one likes #3, especially if we have a good relationship with the neighbor. Therefore, I've determined a 2nd option to step 3:

Email your homeowners insurance agent the pictures, and details of the conversation from step 2. Ask your agent to send a certified letter to the neighbor requesting their cooperation in this matter.

Your agent, who represents you and the insurance company, has an interest in the tree, or the potential damage caused by the tree. He should be happy to send the letter, without throwing you under the bus.

And if he's not, send the pics and details of the conversation to me. I'll give you my opinion of the situation, and help you move forward. You should never be alone when dealing with homeowners insurance claims.

Email Nick

The picture is taken near Caldwell Elementary School in Benton, AR.


Topics: Insurance


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