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Who is responsible for damage caused by fallen trees?

TOPEKA — Strong spring storms in Kansas can bring high winds that cause trees to fall onto homes and vehicles. But when the storm passes and cleanup begins, it may not be clear who will pay for repairs.
“The harsh weather we often experience in Kansas this time of year is an important reminder that anyone in any part of the state can be vulnerable to wind-related damage to their home or vehicle,” says Alex Greig, insurance manager at AAA Kansas. “It’s important to know what your insurance policy does and doesn’t cover to avoid unexpected financial hardship.”
AAA Kansas tips for auto and home insurance coverage:
• Material damage to a car caused by strong winds or falling branches is covered by the optional fully comprehensive part of a car insurance policy.
• If your car is damaged by a fallen tree or branches, you will need to make a claim through your comprehensive car insurance policy.
• If a tree falls on your home, your insurance will cover the removal of the tree and repairs to the home due to the damage.
• If your tree falls on your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s building insurance will provide coverage. The same is true if your neighbor’s tree falls on your house; you would make a claim with your own insurance company.
• If a tree falls in your yard but doesn’t land anywhere, in most cases you will pay to have it removed.
• Additionally, if a tree on your property is weak, damaged or rotten but you do nothing to stop it and it falls on a neighbor’s house (or vehicle), you could be held liable for the damage.
• Wind-related damage to a house, its roof, its contents and other insured structures on the property is covered by standard home insurance policies. Wind-driven rain that creates an opening in the roof or wall and enters through that opening is also covered.
• Damage to a home and its contents caused by a collapse is covered by standard homeowners insurance policies.
For homeowners whose car, home or property has been damaged, AAA Insurance recommends these tips to help the claims process go smoothly:
• Take appropriate immediate and temporary measures to prevent further damage. If you make minor repairs before a claims adjuster arrives, keep receipts to submit for reimbursement.
• Call your insurance agent or insurance company immediately. Prepare in advance with a list of questions: Am I covered? Will my claim exceed my deductible? How long will it take to process my claim? Do I need to get estimates for building damage repairs?
• If your home is so damaged that you can no longer live in it, check that you are insured for additional living expenses and accommodation while repairs are being made. If you are staying in a hotel, keep your receipts for reimbursement.
• Schedule an appointment with a claims adjuster to assess the damage to your property.
• Make a list of lost or damaged items. Do not throw away damaged items until the claims adjuster has been on-site. Consider taking photos or video of the damage.
• Obtain application forms. Insurance companies will send you the necessary application forms within a certain time period. Make sure to fill out the form completely and return it promptly to avoid delays.

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