Councillor Neil Fisher inspects a tree that fell after the 'perfect storm' that hit Rockhampton.
Councillor Neil Fisher inspects a tree that fell after the 'perfect storm' that hit Rockhampton. Sharyn O'Neill ROK080213strees2

Tree claims not covered by insurance companies

ROCKHAMPTON Regional councillor Neil Fisher is appalled by the "too bad, too sad" response from insurance companies to storm victims.

Following recent severe weather, Cr Fisher, who is also The Morning Bulletin's garden columnist, has had a number of complaints from residents about insurance companies not paying for fallen tree damage when it falls into an adjoining neighbour's yard.

Cr Fisher has been visiting affected residents this week, and said the general response was that insurance companies would only pay for the damage done to the tree owner's land.

"I visited an 80-ear-old lady today who is stuck with a $1650 bill to clear a neighbour's fallen tree from her yard," Cr Fisher said.

"Her neighbours are pensioners too and they're really upset about it because they can't afford to help her out and the insurance company will only pay for the damage done to the neighbour's property up to their fence line, but not for damage for removal of the section of tree which fell over into her yard. "They're trying to weasel out of their own job and forcing others to pay."

According to the Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act 2011, responsibility is placed on the tree-keeper to ensure that their neighbour's land is not affected by a tree growing on the tree-keeper's land.

For the purposes of the Act, land is affected by a tree if a neighbour can demonstrate that the tree caused serious injury to a person, serious damage to a neighbour's land or property, or substantial, ongoing or unreasonable interference with a person's use and enjoyment of the person's land.

On Wednesday, Cr Fisher said a resident in another part of town found their insurance company would not pay for the removal of big tree roots, ripped up when one of their trees came down and was uprooted in their own yard. Their insurance company said they weren't insured for the removal of a great root ball.

"These were just two of many examples of insurance companies finding loopholes to get out of paying," Cr Fisher said.

"These people are being treated so badly and it's something that has to be fixed. I really want to urge the State Attorney-General to jump on it and do something about it."



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