Dorian damages downs trees, powerlines throughout area

Paul Culver clears debris that fell from a tree that caused only minor property damage in Summerville.

Piles of debris line the streets across the area after Dorian brushed the South Carolina coast.

The cleanup started the next day and insurance adjusters began to take calls and make their rounds.

“We had a couple dozen claims reported from our toll free number and on our website,” said local agent Tony Pope who has offices in Summerville and Mount Pleasant. “We’ve been very lucky I think we dodged a bullet; there are mainly just trees down.”

Trees and a lot of limbs, which sometimes begs the question, who owns those limbs and trees once they fall and cause damage to another homeowner’s property?

“If a tree lands on your house or your fence it doesn’t really matter where the tree came from, your insurance will have to pay for it,” said Pope. “It’s not your neighbor’s responsibility, it’s considered an act of god if your neighbor’s tree falls over and damages your property.”

And insurance companies won’t pay for just a downed tree.

There has to be damage caused to actual structures. It will be the homeowner’s responsibility for cutting and clearing the tree and limbs.

While damage from storms has remained the same for years the way a company responds to calls has changed a lot. Not long ago customers had to line up outside of offices and wait weeks for an adjuster’s assessment. In 2019 it’s much different.

“We had a catastrophe claim run at somebody’s house this morning that was uninhabitable with a drone flying over the house to estimate damage, and I think that is significant for that kind of response,” Pope said. “They station these guys a few hours away and as soon as it passes they are out here.”

A little peace-of-mind considering hurricane season will last until the end of November.