Damage & Prevention

Homeowner Responsibilities & Liabilities

As a homeowner, you are potentially liable for accidents that take place on your property. If you neglect your trees and they hurt someone, you are going to be held responsible for that person’s injuries. You may even be liable for the injuries sustained by tree care companies working on your property, if their paperwork is not in order.

Do Your Homework

Before contracting with a tree service company, ensure they meet all the following standards:

  • Proof of Insurance. Ask for current certificates of liability and workers’ compensation insurance, if applicable. Be aware that if the tree care company you hire doesn’t have insurance or is not a legal company, then you, the homeowner, could be held responsible as a contractor.
  • Good References. Ask for local references, and check on the quality of their work and level of service. Don’t be rushed by a bargain, and don’t pay in advance.
  • Solid Reputation. Verify professional affiliations the company might have, such as membership in business and/or professional organizations such as TCIA or the Better Business Bureau.
  • Comparisons. Get a second opinion and quote. Make sure these estimates are in writing!
  • Up-to-Date Knowledge. Ask if they follow ANSI Standards. A professional arborist will be aware of the current safety, pruning, fertilizing and cabling standards.
  • Contract. Insist on a signed contract as to cost, dates when work is to be performed, and exactly what is to be done.

If you want to get rid of the guesswork in finding a reputable tree care business, click here to find Tree Care Industry Association accredited companies in your area. TCIA accredited companies are required to meet stringent criteria for professionalism, state and federal safety regulations, business ethics, and consumer satisfaction. They are also all required to carry insurance, guaranteeing your assets will be protected.

12 thoughts on “Homeowner Responsibilities & Liabilities

  • Jamarcus Dantley

    We just recently moved to a home that has lots of trees in the yard. We’ve never had to care for them before so this is great information. It seems like getting a good tree service company can help us avoid a lot of problems. We’ll be sure to find someone that has a solid reputation around the neighborhood, like you pointed out, to help us care for them.

  • Thanks for pointing out that if we hire a tree service, we should make sure that they’re properly insured. We’ve got a tree that beats against the side of the house in the wind that we’d like removed. I’d hate for someone to get hurt removing it, but I’d hate even more if we ended up liable for that. Thanks for the heads up.

  • I really liked your tip about finding good references for your tree service needs. I had a massive tree in my yard that I needed to get rid of and I got a great reference from my neighbor. I think that finding someone that has used a service that you need is the way to go. Thank you for sharing.

  • These are some great things to be aware of when looking for a tree service company. You’re right, finding the right one can really help protect you and those around you from potential accidents. We’ve got a tree that needs some servicing so we’ll be sure to keep these things in mind! Thanks for sharing this.

  • These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to get a second opinion on your quote when finding a tree care service. My husband and I just moved into a different house, and there are several large trees throughout the yard, some bordering our neighbor’s fence line, and we want to have them inspected to see if any should be removed. We’ll definitely get a second opinion on the quote before we make any final decisions. Thanks for the great post!

  • I appreciate your tip on making sure the tree service company is up-to-date on safety standards. My biggest concern with getting our trees serviced and pruned is safety. Some of our trees are pretty big. I feel a lot better now after reading your article. Thanks for the help!

  • Homeowners really need to be wary when hiring a company to do any type of work on their property. When it comes to tree it’s not just two guys with a chainsaw they need to look out for either. Homeowners should request proof of all insurance(general liability, workmans comp, etc) before allowing any work to begin.

  • My grandmother has some trees that need some servicing in her yard. I’m just trying to help her find a contractor, so I really appreciated this post. I liked your tip to check for proof of insurance, which is something that I normally wouldn’t have thought of on my own, but I can see how important that would be. Thanks for sharing!

  • I think with something like tree removal, it’s good to check for insurance. One wrong move and a tree is in your living room. I’m sure that doesn’t happen often, when you get a legit company with people who have a lot of experience. I think shopping around and doing your homework is a good way to find the best company for you.

  • thank you for the information on making sure to verify insurance and credibility of the tree service provider, its not until something goes wrong do you usually think about this.



  • Thanks for the tips, i guess its not until something goes wrong, do you think about checking insurance and the credibility of the provider.


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