Tree liability insurance

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  • Tree liability insurance
  • bensongd

    Hi all,
    After a bit of input and/or experience. Looking at buying a house with a large mature tree in the front next to the pavement. Mortgage people have asked for an arboriculturist report. I’m not sure of the tree type. I understand that there could be implications for the property with roots, heavage etc..

    But what are my liabilities in terms of branches falling onto cars or people? Do you have to get additional insurance?



    The folks who live behind us have an 80ft+ (I reckon) eucalyptus in their back garden. Apparently they had it trimmed 7 years ago and it cost them a couple of grand alone.
    So it may be worth getting a tree surgeon round before you buy to see what they think.

    Insurance-wise, your household policy should include cover for your legal liabilities arising from you being a homeowner and occupier. That would include liability arising from negligently failing to manage the tree, meaning that it fell on a bus queue of nuns and orphans, etc.

    If the tree is healthy and sound and “just falls down” in a storm etc and you’ve done nothing wrong, then there is nothing for anyone to sue for.

    Your lender is probably more worried about the roots causing subsidence, so the type of tree and the distance away from your house become very important.


    Hey – I work in the arboricultural industry and mainly undertake tree safety inspections/risk assessments. The best advice I can give is to get the tree regularly inspected by a competent/adequately trained professional. A good place to start finding a suitable person is looking on the arb association website or the quantified tree risk assessment members directory.

    If an incident ever occurred, like a branch falling and hitting someone, in order to claim the person injured/killed would be required to prove you were liable. It’s essential that your are able to demonstrate that you have taken adequate measures to reduce any risk, the best way to do this is by getting the tree inspected regularly and acting on any recommendations in the report. There is a significant amount of case law to support this way of managing your liability. The majority of claim cases fail due to the owner being able to demonstrate that the accident could not be foreseen and they had made an attempt to monitor and manage tree health. The claim cases that are successful are generally won when the owner cannot demonstrate that they have made any past effort to monitor the condition of the tree.

    With a little knowledge you don’t need to employ an expert, though I would suggest that you do initially to get a base line assessment, but you should ensure you inspect tree regularly and keep a record of these inspections. Before you ask; for a healthy tree the industry generally recommends an annual inspection or after a severe weather incident. Hope that helps.


    Thanks for the replies, all very helpful. Engineer attempted to visit the house yesterday but estate agent didn’t turn up or leave the gate unlocked as promised. Hopefully revisiting next week, failing that it’s a 6 week wait.

    So still none the wiser on what damage/risk it may pose.

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