Tree and debris removal, at times, must be paid for by homeowner - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Tree and debris removal, at times, must be paid for by homeowner

Tree and debris removal, at times, must be paid for by homeowner

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Trees downed by the wind were the main cause of power outages in Tuesday night's brief but impactful storm, according to insurance agents and Appalachian Power.

It is the power company's responsibility to restore power lost due to down trees, but it is not always the insurance company's responsibility to clean up the mess.

"There were trash cans and dust just flying through the middle of downtown," recalls insurance company owner, Tom Gesner, as he looks at the four-foot wide oak tree laying on the front lawn of his business on 6th Avenue.

Luckily, for Gesner, the tree was technically owned by the city of Huntington. Gesner says he heard from the city that Huntington maintenance crews will remove the tree.

If the tree were on Gesner's side of the sidewalk to begin with, the insurance agent would have probably had to pay some money out-of-pocket to get the tree removed.

Gesner explains that's because the tree, as massive as it is, did not hit or lean against his building.

"It would not typically be covered by an insurance policy from a lot of companies, because it's just laying in the yard," says Gesner.

Three doors down, a smaller tree, that could be more easily removed by someone who is not a professional, is leaning against a building. That detail makes the situation one that is worthy of a claim.

Wind damage is covered by almost all insurance companies, according to Gesner, but an unmovable tree that is not touching a home is not worthy of a claim.

Gesner, an Erie Insurance seller, offers insurance that would cover removal of a non-damaging tree after a deductible.

In order to avoid a tree in your yard to begin with, Gesner recommends paying a professional to trim trees to make them less likely to fall or do damage.

"You could probably have someone come out for a few hundred dollars to take care of it," says Gesner. "But after it's fallen, it may be a $10,000 or $50,000 claim."
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