Even businesses that prominently feature majestic trees on their properties may not plan for what happens when those trees are affected by a storm. However, business owners need to be aware that they could end up taking on the costs of tree, branch, and debris removal, even if their landscaping doesn’t include large trees.
Tornados and strong storms can toss trees and branches great distances, and insurance companies are rarely interested in tracking down whose property the tree originally came from. This can leave business owners or their insurance companies bearing the costs of:
- Fallen trees. Nearby trees can create problems for your business if they fall on company property, damage buildings, block entrances, and require expensive removal. Businesses can also end up in insurance squabbles about responsibility for those costs, both with neighbors and the insurance companies.
- Damage from flying tree debris. In a serious storm, tree branches and other flying debris can puncture siding, break windows, damage roofing materials, and more. Even if your business did not sustain direct damage from the storm, indirect damage from debris and the costs of removal can be staggering.
Attorney Bill Voss understands how expensive it can be for a business to recover from a tornado or severe storm, and it’s important that you aren’t caught by surprise. Here are some things you should know about tornado insurance coverage, choosing a tree-removal contractor, and what to expect when you file your insurance claim.
Commercial Insurance Coverage of Tree Removal
Will your insurance company cover the costs of removing trees or debris from your business property after a tornado? The answer is a confusing “maybe.” While the answer really depends on the specific policy you carry, commercial insurance policies generally cover the costs of removal if the tree fell and damaged a structure or other property. However, the insurance company may not cover those costs if the tree fell due to lack of maintenance or if the tree or debris didn’t cause any additional property damage.
If the fallen tree or branches came from a neighboring property, there may be coverage under that property’s insurance policy. If you have any questions about your coverage for debris removal after a tornado, you should speak with your insurance company or an experienced insurance claim attorney.
Don’t be caught by surprise. By planning ahead for potential needs and regularly reviewing the coverage your business carries, you can make sure that your business is ready to face the worst weather events without unnecessary financial surprises.
Choosing a Legitimate and Professional Tree-Removal Contractor for Your Business
Severe storms and weather events can affect large regions, leaving many individuals and businesses in need of tree-removal and tree-care services. Unfortunately, after major weather events, many unlicensed or “fly-by-night” services prey on vulnerable policyholders, especially commercial policyholders who may be focusing on finding cost-effective services over quality services. However, even though your business is pressed to protect its bottom line, don’t fall for the scam.
To avoid putting your business at risk, choose a tree-care company that offers:
- Proper licensing and insurance.
- Reputable references and no history of complaints.
- Detailed written estimates.
- Willingness to talk with you about your tree-care and removal needs.
Additionally, you may want to speak with several tree-care companies in your area to get a better idea of professional standards, pricing structures, and what services might be needed to help your business recover.
By taking the time to investigate the contractors you hire after your business sustains damage, you can avoid serious complications and safety concerns, while also making sure that you have the professional documentation needed to resolve your insurance claim.
Getting Help With Complicated Commercial Insurance Claims
If you are having trouble determining who pays for tree and debris removal after a storm, don’t give up and absorb the costs before you reach out for experienced legal help. Our policyholder attorneys have extensive experience helping companies and business owners maximize their insurance claims and fight delays, denials, and other complications as they arise. Simply give us a call or fill out the contact form on this page for answers to your questions. You may also wish to request your free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This Before Filing an Insurance Claim.