By Kurtis Ming

MODESTO (CBS13) — A Modesto family says their homeowner’s insurance is dropping their coverage over a city tree, so they called Kurtis.

The insurance company doesn’t like the branches hanging over the roof. When we called the city, they went out and inspected the property.

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The city said the trees are pruned properly, and if the insurance company needs them pruned further, they can apply for a permit to trim it themselves.

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“This just isn’t fair, and I don’t understand,” said Corrine Sawyer.

“They’re city trees. These are their trees” said her sister, Shelley Farmer.

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The city of Modesto said it has 81,000 trees to maintain and a limited budget, admitting on average, each tree gets pruned once every 11 years. But if the city learns of a safety hazard, they said they’ll usually prune within a day or so.

The city has agreed to talk with the family’s insurance company and explain the trees are not a hazard. We’ll see how the insurance company responds.

The city issued the following statement:

“The City maintains approximately 81,000 trees and our current cycle for maintaining (pruning) each tree is about 11 years; this is not acceptable, but our limited budget and resources simply does not allow for us to maintain trees more often.  On the other hand, when we receive an inspection request, we get out to the trees sooner.  If a tree poses a safety hazard, we prune as soon as possible, likely within a day or so. 

“At this address, we inspected the trees on 11/19/19; the Pistache trees at this address were previously pruned in June 2013, and the inspection at that time showed that the Oak was not in need of pruning.  At the inspection of the trees in November (and today, when our arborist went out to the site), it was also observed that the roof line of the house was clear.  Trees are inspected by certified arborists. 

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“While insurance companies may desire homeowners clear trees from insured structures, the city is not required to trim trees to each insurance company’s preference; this is simply not possible, and it could actually create future hazards due to extreme pruning practices not approved by the Tree Care Industry (ANSI 300 pruning standards).”