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Eastlake: Not all storm damage covered by insurance

11:05 PM, Jun 26, 2013   |    comments
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EASTLAKE -- Homeowner and auto insurance polices cover property damage from hail, wind, rain and fire, but what about downed trees?

Trees toppled by wind and rain are some of the most common causes of property damage after a storm.

But not all kinds of tree damage are covered.

Many people consider large shade trees on their properties to be a positive.

At least until a storm brings the trees down, like neighbors in Eastlake experienced Tuesday night.

Anna DePinto lives on E. 351st Street, where many trees fell against homes, and limbs covered driveways and yards.

She figured, since her home was spared any damage, that she was lucky; turns out, her homeowner's insurance policy does not cover the cleanup in her yard.

"$1,000 will be covered after my deductable, but another $1,000 will come out of my pocket," DePinto said, of what it will cost to clean up the maples that fell around her home.

On E. 349th Street, Terrie Reicher faces a similar issue.

Branches from a 100-year-old oak spared her house, but she'll need a tree removal service to get them off her property.

"It doesn't cover a lot, that's for sure," Reicher said.

Here's what to know about fallen trees and coverage, according to the Ohio Insurance Institute:

If a tree in your yard falls, and damages your home, your policy covers the loss; your neighbor's home, their policy covers the loss; but if it falls and damages your yard, coverage will be limited, and tree removal service can cost thousands of dollars.

Like pools, ponds or even ownership of vicious dogs, insurance companies often consider trees to be risks.

"That's because not every homeowner has these things. These are choices an individual has a right to, but they may also have to pay for the risk," says Mary Bonelli, with the Ohio Insurance Institute.

Bottom line, know your policy, and have an arborist check the health of your trees, if you are unsure of the risk.

WKYC-TV

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