We are often asked by home-owners if they are required to remove any trees that are close proximity to their house. They are concerned that having a tree near their house may void their home insurance policy. This is a complicated question to answer as there are many different types of insurance policies available. The best advice will come directly from your insurance company as they will know the specifics of your policy. The following is only general advice.
Most insurance policies won’t pay to remove a hazardous tree from your property unless it has already caused damage to your house. In most cases the home-owner is required to perform any maintenance work required to prevent significant damage to their homes at their own expense. This provision is included in almost every insurance policy and is deliberately very broad to provide grounds for non-payment of claims where routine tree maintenance has not been carried out or an obviously dangerous trees in close proximity to the house was not not removed.
The implication of a provision like this is significant. If an insurance company can prove that a home-owner failed to prevent property damage by performing what they consider reasonable tree maintenance, then any claims arising for damage to your property as a result of falling branches or trees can be denied.
Most home-owners baulk at the cost of tree removal as it can be a relatively expense exercise. However, this is a short term cost and by not removing the hazardous tree you may open yourself up to more significant costs and liabilities if catastrophic damage occurs. Worse still, if damage was to occur to your neighbour’s property you could still be liable without the protection of your insurance policy!
The good news is that hazardous trees can be removed with very little paperwork and tree maintenance can be surprisingly affordable. For many properties across Sydney the 10/50 rule applies which makes it possible to remove trees near a house without a permit. Some other good news is that we offer free quotes.