You have a tree down after Hurricane Beryl hit your area - now what?

Who is responsible for tree damage? Will insurance pay for cleanup?

Will insurance cover tree damage done by storm? It depends! (Andrea Slaydon, Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Many neighborhoods across the Houston area have downed trees and powerlines from Hurricane Beryl. From Lake Jackson to Kingwood, KPRC 2 viewers are reporting damage from large limbs and trees.

LIVE BLOG: Latest updates as Hurricane Beryl hits Houston | Stay informed with KPRC 2

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It is important to know what to do in the minutes and hours after a storm leaves damage behind. We are answering some of your storm damage-related questions.

Do you have trees or limbs down in your yard or on your home?

Tree damage caused by Hurricane Beryl in Meadow Creek Village. (Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

The Texas Department of Insurance answers common questions about insurance coverage and filing claims after a disaster.

Each insurance policy has different language, and it may be complicated to figure out quickly what you should do.

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Don’t worry - we are here to help!

  • Before removing limbs or trees take photos and video of the damage done.
  • Don’t throw anything away.
  • Make temporary repairs to prevent more damage. Cover broken windows and roof damage to keep rain out.
  • Keep a list of the repairs and save receipts.
  • Don’t make permanent repairs before the insurance adjuster sees the damage.
  • Call your insurance agent or company as soon as possible to report property damage.

CLICK2PINS | Share photos, videos with KPRC 2 as Tropical Storm Beryl passes through Houston, SE Texas 🌀⛈️

If a neighbor’s tree falls on your fence/car/garage/house who is responsible and who pays the deductible?

This is a question we always get, so it’s worth repeating.

If the tree was healthy before the storm and high winds caused the tree to fall over and damage your property, you cannot hold your neighbor liable.

Click2Pins Insider E-Z-Ed sent us this picture of damage from a May 2024 storm. We often get the question - who is responsible for fence damage caused by a falling tree? (Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

This was an “act of God.”

However, if the tree was diseased or in a dangerous condition before the disaster, you can hold them liable for damages. The neighbor was negligent in maintaining the tree. Home insurance generally covers this type of damage.

The storm damaged my fence. Will my homeowners’ insurance pay for the repairs to my fence?

TDI says if your policy provides coverage for wind, you likely have some coverage for the fence. Coverage for fences is usually limited to actual cash value. That means your company will deduct depreciation from what it pays. You’ll also have to pay your deductible.

My detached garage and storage shed were damaged. Will my policy cover this?

Typically, yes. Your policy will probably pay up to 10% of the amount you insured your house for. Polices might not provide coverage for other structures such as sheds or buildings used to run a business.

SEE ALSO: List of high water locations reported across SE Texas counties as Hurricane Beryl hits Greater Houston

If a tree falls in your yard but doesn’t leave damage to the home or vehicle, will insurance cover the cost to clean it up?

Maybe. If the tree hit a structure like a garage or the tree is blocking the entrance to your home the policy may cover it. But if the tree is just in the yard your insurance usually won’t pay for cleanup.

For tree damage to a vehicle, this would fall under the car insurance coverage policy. (But if you have liability insurance only you have to pay for the damage out of pocket.

The Texas Department of Insurance says the person with the damage should contact their insurance provider.

You can also call the TDI Help Line at 800-252-3439.

For company phone numbers, check your insurance policy. You can also use the Texas Department of Insurance Company Lookup tool.

8 things you should do when calling insurance company

Know the right questions to ask before you call your insurance company after a storm. (Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

When you do reach someone from your insurance company TDI says there are a few things you should do.

  • Keep a record of everyone you talked to with your company
  • Be ready to answer questions about the damage.
  • Ask about an advance payment if you need help quickly.
  • Ask about living expenses. Most policies will cover some of the costs you have if you are unable to live in your home because of damage that is covered by your insurance. Keep your receipts for these costs.
  • Make sure your adjuster and company have your current phone number.
  • Make sure your address is visible from the street. You may need to post a sign with your address in the yard.
  • Try to be there when the adjuster visits and point out all damage.
  • Get multiple bids from contractors and compare them with the adjuster’s report before settling the claim.

Questions to ask before hiring a roofer

In the days after any big storm contractors will flood neighborhoods looking for work. You may be tempted to hire the least expensive one. If your roofer is not licensed, bonded, and insured, you could run into major problems down the road. We’ve explained in the past that if something goes wrong down the road your insurance may not repair for work if you hired someone unqualified.

Texas is the only Gulf State that doesn’t license roofers. Anybody can call themselves a roofer. That’s why you have to protect yourself. Investigative reporter Amy Davis gets asked about how exactly homeowners can protect themselves. What should you ask? What websites can you check to make sure you are hiring a legitimate skilled roofer? She compiled what you should ask before hiring any roofing contractor.

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About the Author

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.

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