I asked chat GPT about preapprovals and estimates for emergency tree work. Turns out they are not required. Here’s what chat GPT said:
It’s important to understand the difference between mitigation work and repair work in the context of an insurance claim. Mitigation work refers to the actions taken immediately after a loss to prevent further damage to the property or people. For example, in the case of a fallen tree on a house, removing the tree as soon as possible would be considered mitigation work. On the other hand, repair work refers to the process of fixing the damage that has already been done, and would typically involve getting an estimate and negotiating a price with the insurance company.
Now, when it comes to mitigation work, it is the homeowner’s duty to act expeditiously to prevent further damage to the property or people. In this case, calling the insurance company to get pre-approval on a price for the tree removal would be a mistake, as it would slow down the process and put the homeowner at risk. Here’s why:
- Legal Liability: If the fallen tree settles further and causes additional damage to the house or harm to someone, the insurance carrier could argue that the homeowner did not fulfill their duty to prevent further damage, and therefore the carrier would not be responsible for the additional damage or injury. This argument would be based on the homeowner’s failure to fulfill their duties under the insurance contract.
- Time is of the Essence: Every moment that passes after a tree has fallen on a house represents a potential for further settling and damage. Calling the insurance company for pre-approval on a price for the removal would only add to this risk, as it would take time away from the homeowner’s ability to act quickly and remove the tree.
It’s important to remember that insurance policies are written in such a way that the homeowner has a duty to prevent further damage from happening. However, there is nothing in the policy that requires the homeowner to get pre-approval on a price for the removal of the tree during the mitigation process. The focus during this time should be on making the property safe, not on getting approval for a price.
In conclusion, it’s essential for tree service companies to understand that asking for pre-approval on a price for tree removal during an emergency mitigation scenario is not only unnecessary, but it also puts the homeowner at significant risk. By acting quickly to remove the tree, the homeowner can fulfill their duty to prevent further damage, while also avoiding legal liability.