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Who's responsible for tree damage claims?

Posted: 4:36 PM, Feb 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-04 17:49:13-05
Snapped Branch

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Weeks after a winter storm blanketed the metro area with snow, people are still cleaning up the mess.

As some tree limbs litter metro neighborhoods, others continue to fall, which could put people at risk.

Insurance Agent Brian Rauber has dealt with a number of claims involving tree damage recently.

"I had many scenarios where they're parked in the driveway and a neighbors tree limb falls on their car, that happens all the time," said Rauber, Brian Rauber Insurance Agency.

If the tree was alive and healthy, Rauber said the homeowner is not responsible for the damage. He said the homeowner had no reason to know the tree would create the claim.

"If the tree had been dead then the homeowner is negligent, in that regard, they should have known that the tree could fall or limbs could fall and they should have taken care of it prior to the damage it caused," said Rauber.

In his 15 years as an insurance agent, Rauber said there are still scenarios he's had yet to experience.

"I've never had a client driving a car and a tree limb fall on them," said Rauber.

Though it could happen, which is why Rauber suggests comprehensive coverage for your car insurance.

If a branch or tree limb fell on his car while driving, Rauber said he would contact the land owner or the city property and ask them to file a claim. If that claim was denied he said he would file it on his comprehensive coverage for his car insurance.

City Forestry is responsible for right of way trees, trees within the road and sidewalk areas of city property. After a storm, the city will assign crews to respond to cases that are an immediate hazard.

To report any snapped or downed limbs in the Kansas City area, call 311. Here's a comprehensive list of where to take downed tree limbs in the metro.