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Insurance Carrier: Foremost
State: Georgia

Consumer Complaint:

A large oak tree from our neighbor’s yard fell on our house and totaled the back half. We have no insurance, and her insurance company is calling this an act of God. They refused to pay for cleanup of the tree on our side, which is where 90% of HER tree is at. There are 3 adults and 3 children in our home and no money to help rebuild or replace what we have all lost. My son and his fiance almost got squished by the house because the tree came into the house through their room and in the children’s closet area. The insurance company refuses to come out to the property and made their decision on pictures alone. I'm pretty sure they have to come out and look at it in person, right?

Insurance Expert Answer:

Sorry to hear this, but you now know why you needed homeowners insurance. In most states (and I am NOT a GA lawyer and do not know your state's rules) the ability of the damaged person (you) to get recovery for a tree that falls from a neighbor's land onto your home depends on whether the neighbor was negligent and/or had some knowledge that the tree posed a danger; if so, you recover. By that I mean if the neighbor knew or should have known the tree was rotten or weakened or posed a danger in a normal rain or thunder storm, the neighbor (and thus his insurance company) would be liable as the knew the danger, he failed to take remedial measures, there was a normal rainstorm, and the tree did fall causing damage. But if the tree was healthy and he did not know and a tornado came through and pulled it out onto your land and did damage, the neighbor did nothing wrong, and does not have to pay. That's an "act of God." Although the neighbor's insurance company is involved, this is NOT an insurance law question. Go see a lawyer in your area now, and make sure you take photos of the tree from all angles first. You'll need a Georgia lawyer who understands basic issues of GA property and negligence law. You likely will have to pay something for the lawyer's time upfront. Sometimes if a lawyer gets involved the other side's insurance company will pay something to settle the case, and the stronger the case, the more they pay. But that's why you needed homeowners insurance as it would have paid regardless. I'm sorry this happened.