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The crucial role of tree risk assessments in property ownership

Understanding TRAQ, identifying risks and potential legal liability
Homeowners may face claims for damages to buildings, vehicles, or even injuries caused by their trees. Photo courtesy of Osprey Tree Service.

For property owners, understanding the health and safety of the trees surrounding their homes or businesses is not simply about aesthetics but also about legal and financial prudence. 

Tree Risk Assessment Qualifications (TRAQ) are essential tools that help in identifying potential hazards to ensure homeowners are not inadvertently setting themselves up for liability, explains Melissa Stedman, Senior Vice President of Commercial Insurance with Gallagher Insurance and Risk Management..

“A Tree Risk Assessment Report is a detailed evaluation performed by a certified arborist from a reputable company such as Osprey Tree Service that assesses the health and potential risks posed by trees on your property,” she says.

In addition to highlighting the current health of your trees, the report predicts potential problems. 

"Trees can pose safety risks in numerous ways," Stedman says. "From falling limbs during a storm to obscured visibility near roadways, the dangers are significant." 

In turn, hazards can lead to property damage or, worse, bodily injury, placing a heavy liability on the homeowner. For instance, if a tree or its branch falls and damages a neighbour's property, the owner of the tree could be held liable, especially if the fall results from neglect.

Homeowners may face claims for damages to buildings, vehicles, or even injuries caused by their trees. "The consequences could be much greater if there is bodily injury involved," Stedman warns. 

This makes regular tree risk assessments a crucial preventive measure against potential lawsuits and financial losses. 

Recommended frequency of these assessments can vary, influenced by factors such as the species, age and health of the tree, proximity to property or power lines, and recent weather conditions. 

“Insurers may require a tree assessment and then request confirmation that any recommended actions have been completed," Stedman adds, highlighting the insurance industry's perspective on minimizing risk through regular evaluations.

TRAQ is a critical aspect of property management that goes beyond landscaping. It's a proactive measure that safeguards homeowners from unforeseen liabilities and enhances the safety and beauty of their properties. As Stedman puts it, “Don't wait for damage to occur. Being proactive not only preserves the natural beauty of your property but also protects you legally and financially.”

If you’re looking to ensure the health and safety of your trees, go to or call directly at 250-474-7993.