AARP Eye Center
In the midst of a disaster, you're rarely equipped to track down the best and least expensive solution to your problem. So before your next bit of bad luck in and around the house, learn how to cut the costs of common crises.
The wind blew my tree over!
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$1,000+ removing 80-foot tree
Standard homeowners insurance covers damage to the contents and structure of your house or garage; you just have to pay the deductible. Comprehensive auto insurance usually covers damages to a crushed car.
The cost of cutting and removing the tree, up to certain limits, should be covered if it hits an insured structure; otherwise you're likely on your own. A simple job can start at $200, says Nancy Herwig, executive director of the mid-Atlantic chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. “But most trees near homes need a lot more time, so it could be in the thousands,” she says.
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A landscaper can remove a tree that has already fallen and is not near your home. But for complex jobs, consider an arborist, says Caitlyn Pollihan, CEO of the International Society of Arboriculture: “An ISA-certified arborist can perform the job safely while reducing further risk of damage.” Ask for references, proof of insurance, and certifications or licenses. “There is no undoing bad tree work,” Herwig says.
My dog bit my neighbor, and she's suing!
$50,245, average insurance payout for dog bite claims in 2020
Homeowners and renters insurance policies typically cover dog bite liability and legal expenses (the insurer generally hires the lawyer) up to the policy's liability limit, which is often $100,000 to $300,000.
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If you need a lawyer, look for a specialist in representing dog owners. “You need a civil defense attorney who understands the laws and facts surrounding dog bites,” says Jeremy Cohen of Boston Dog Lawyers.