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Mircobursts and tree damage, what’s a home owner to do?

Posted by Rona Fischman July 19, 2012 01:47 PM

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Last night a microburst passed through east Arlington. A microburst is a storm with intense down drafts and high winds. It came during rush hour. It was a mess. Trees came down in large number, blocking Mass Ave and some side streets. There was flash flooding, and power was out for some. For access to first-hand accounts, The Patch has them.

I was writing at my desk when it hit. The heavy rain was pelting my windows horizontally. Some tree limbs in my yard came down. It only lasted 15 minutes or so. I read later that a large tree came down a couple of blocks away, blocking the road.

It is a coincidence that just yesterday, Attorney Vetstein wrote a blog entry here about trees. Last year, he wrote one about insurance and tree damage, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

The insurance summary is this:

The short answer is that, legally speaking, your neighbor is not liable for a healthy tree falling down during a major storm event. That is considered an “Act of God” for which no one is legally liable… So, you will have to make a claim under your homeowner’s insurance policy for the damage caused by the neighbor’s tree.

Worst hit last night was East Arlington. If you live in Arlington and your property was damaged, Leader Bank -- a bank based in Arlington -- put this out on the Arlington list:

In order to assist Arlington residents through this difficult time, Leader Bank will offer temporary assistance to those affected by the storm. Leader Bank will offer any Arlington resident whose residence has been damaged by the July 18 storms a personal loan in an amount up to $5,000.00, pending credit approval. Leader Bank will offer such loans at no interest (0.00% annual percentage rate) for a period of sixty days. The only payment due will be the repayment of the full amount borrowed at the conclusion of the sixty day period. Only Arlington residents who can demonstrate that they have suffered damage to their home due to the July 18, 2012 storms are eligible and all applications must be received by Leader Bank on or before August 10, 2012.

I am sure the insurance companies and arborists will be busy for weeks to come. Where were you when the wind came down?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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