The up-keep of a rental property is no easy task. Between removing pet odors and carpet stains, and updating the interior to appeal to more modern buyers, to-do lists can grow and so can the overhead costs. But no matter how much work may lie ahead or how costly it can get, you cannot neglect your yards.

Tree maintenance does not come cheap, but if not properly maintained, the damage of a fallen tree can be far worse than the cost of up-keep. To cut down a dead tree you are looking in the range of anywhere between $600-$3,000 depending on the size – the bigger the tree, the bigger the fee.

The cost of cutting down a tree may sound like a lot, but the damage a fallen tree can cause pales in comparison. Tree removal experts and claims adjusters have seen fallen trees kill pets, severely injure people, and practically destroy homes and cars.

Even if you have insurance for falling objects, which is what damage to your property caused by a fallen tree limb could fall under, it may cover the damage done to the property, but not necessarily the complete cost of the tree removal, which can be a very costly out-of-pocket expense once the tree has fallen.

“If the fallen tree is out in the open it is an easy, inexpensive job, but that’s rarely the case,” Jonathan Rasa, Owner of Rasa Lawn Care said. “People plant trees near houses. They’re always close to fences or power lines, and that is when the cost of the job goes up.”

It is also important to understand that in the case of a fallen tree, insurance is not necessarily guaranteed to pay for any of it at all. For instance, homeowners who have neglected to care for their trees appropriately, by trimming dead limbs or even having the tree removed, may find themselves without coverage when a storm finally causes the limbs or tree to fall.

“Determining the cause as to why the tree fell is an important part of getting a claim settled accurately and may delay any applicable payment,” Affinity Group Management Loss Prevention Specialist BreAnn Stephenson said. “A variety of factors go into the claims settlement process, costing you not only money out of your pocket, for example with the deductible, but valuable time as well. Why go through that mess if you can prevent a loss from happening with some simple maintenance?”

Recently I had the opportunity to witness what can happen when a dead tree falls as the result of a large windstorm. The tree damaged three yards including fences, gazebos, power lines, benches, gardens and dog houses, but it did not stop there. The third house down suffered the most damage, both interior and exterior, and will likely need a new roof, new windows, fixed plumbing, and much more. Fortunately only physical property was destroyed and nobody was seriously hurt.

“I was just grateful my dog was not outside at the time it fell,” Victim Mona Donaphan said. “He is typically always out there and I guess I just got lucky that he wasn’t at that time. My gazebo can be replaced, but my dog cannot.”

Watch this video for a more in depth look at the damage caused from the fallen tree to all three homes, and how something like this can be easily avoided: