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Is State Farm Liable for an "act of god?"

Updated on June 17, 2011

Act of God or State Farm Insurance's way of doing business?

Tree Falls...hits car...who's fault is it?
Tree Falls...hits car...who's fault is it?

Scenario:

A huge storm passes through your city. Your neighbor's tree falls onto your property. Who's responsibility is it to remove? You or your neighbors?

I had to get an answer to this very question today when a tree fell on my honda and I had to figure out exactly what to do.

Here are the steps I took:

  1. Called my car insurance company to make a potential claim.
  2. Called the homeowner next door to see when I could have the tree removed from my property.

The homeowner deferred to her insurance company, State Farm. Her insurance company told her (and then later, me) that it wasn't their responsibility to remove the tree because it was an act of God.

Which means State Farm told me in a nice way to take a hike. The Tree was not their problem. And the time and money I have to spend removing my neighbor's dead tree is my own problem.

In actuality, I don't think it was an act of God. A part of the tree had fallen a couple month's ago and rather than cut down the entire tree, they removed half the tree from the stump, which in effect weakened the tree.

That's my case. But more importantly, what do you think? Should an insurance company like State Farm shoulder the blame when a part of the property they insured causes another property money and time?

Or should we, as homeowners, simply button up our pie holes and take it?

And finally, supposing it is their problem and State Farm pays their claim....what is an acceptable time frame to make good on their claim? Should I, as a homeowner, be deprived of a car while State Farm tries to argue that they shouldn't pay?

Honda is okay but is the homeowner responsible for a tree that belongs to someone else?
Honda is okay but is the homeowner responsible for a tree that belongs to someone else?
Honda is "consumed" by tree
Honda is "consumed" by tree
Part of the trunk was cut down a couple months ago.  Did it kill the tree?  State Farm Insurance claims that a "limb" was cut down.  In actuality, half the tree was cut from the stump, weakening the tree.
Part of the trunk was cut down a couple months ago. Did it kill the tree? State Farm Insurance claims that a "limb" was cut down. In actuality, half the tree was cut from the stump, weakening the tree.
Another View of the fallen tree.  Note the cut stump.  That wasn't an act of god.  The other half fell because it was lacking "half the tree".
Another View of the fallen tree. Note the cut stump. That wasn't an act of god. The other half fell because it was lacking "half the tree".

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