Oklahoma insurance rules mean neighbor's tree can become your problem

Heavy winds toppled a weakened tree limb onto the roof of The Oklahoman’s Sheila Stogsdill, who learned that her insurance policy was liable for covering the damage.
By Sheila Stogsdill, For The Oklahoman Modified: July 2, 2014 at 10:00 am •  Published: July 1, 2014
Advertisement
;

photo - 
Heavy winds toppled a weakened tree limb onto the roof of The Oklahoman’s Sheila Stogsdill, who learned that her insurance policy was liable for covering the damage. PHOTO BY SHEILA STOGSDILL, FOR THE OKLAHOMAN
Heavy winds toppled a weakened tree limb onto the roof of The Oklahoman’s Sheila Stogsdill, who learned that her insurance policy was liable for covering the damage. PHOTO BY SHEILA STOGSDILL, FOR THE OKLAHOMAN

Imagine my great surprise when I learned I was responsible for removing my neighbor’s tree that had fallen into my yard and damaged my home.

Grove was under a tornado warning on Saturday evening. Tornado sirens were blaring and the city and county’s emergency telephone warning system had been activated. Grand Lakers were warned to take shelter.

I wasn’t in Grove, because I was stuck at Books-A-Million bookstore in Joplin, Mo., during a torrential downpour.

The tornado-like strong winds that blew over Grand Lake knocked a 25-foot to 30-foot dead limb from my neighbor’s yard onto my rooftop and damaged the wood stove flue on my roofline. The limb was about 10 to 12 inches in diameter, and due to its position in the tree it was hidden from the average person’s view by lots of green leaves on the other branches.

The guttering and roof was not damaged — that I know of — just a lot of broken limbs on the roof and yard. The flue was knocked off its base and it had a huge dent.

I was confident that since I carried homeowners insurance, I was covered for damage to my home or a structure and its contents from fallen trees that grew on my property.

I also was pretty confident my neighbor’s insurance company would take care of removing a tree or limb that was on his property and had fallen on my property.

I was wrong.

When I called the property manager, who is overseeing the rental property, she told me in Oklahoma the policy is for the homeowner with the damaged property to turn it over to their insurance carrier.

In other words, it’s not my neighbor’s responsibility to take care of the tree on my house and fix my flue.

At first I thought she was wrong, and in a polite way told her I disagreed.

Then I found out I was wrong.

As I dialed the telephone number to the property owner, I said a short prayer and reminded myself I had been a good neighbor to the various renters that lived in the residence over the past seven years. I was so glad when the property had been bought years ago and the homeowner cleaned up the yard and flipped the dilapidated house, making it a nice addition to the neighborhood.

Continue reading this story on the...


For more information or help with other questions, contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Consumer Assistance Team at (800) 522-0071.

Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Owasso beats Jenks for first time since 1993; Union rolls past BA
  2. 2
    Tulsa police officer recounts saving man from dog mauling
  3. 3
    Missing Tulsa pilot, plane found after authorities narrowed the search
  4. 4
    Russian bombers intercepted near Canadian airspace
  5. 5
    Slender Man costumes cause uproar after stabbing
+ show more