After the Storm: Who Pays for What?

The lowdown on insurance and claims

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Marilyn Golias inspects her "100+ year-old" tree which was toppled by a severe storm and has rendered a street un-passable in Falls Church, Va., Saturday, June 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    Downed trees and damage have many folks wondering who pays for what when it comes to insurance and cleanup. It turns out the rules are pretty straight forward. If a tree falls on your house,  your homeowners insurance will pay for the damage. And it may possibly pay for tree removal.

    If your neighbor's tree fell on your house, it's you insurance that will pay. If a tree fell on your car, comprehensive auto insurance pays for the damage. If a tree fell and didn't damage any property, you will likely have to pay to have it removed.

    When filing an insurance claim, start by documenting the damage with pictures or video. Next, check for secondary damages. For example, check if a downed tree that damaged your roof also grazed a gutter on the way down. If you can, make temporary repairs to prevent further damage. This includes covering a broken window or stopping a leak. Do NOT make permanent repairs until your insurance company inspects the property. And remember to save all receipts to document any costs.