Should You Pay The Cost To Remove A Tree?

Damaged tree removal Win Henderson / Wikimedia

You might be surprised at the cost to remove a tree. Why is it so pricey? Because tree removal is a complex, potentially dangerous operation, which requires specialized training and equipment.

The good news is that in certain cases, you may not be obliged to pay the cost to remove that tree. Find out why.

Professional tree removal Daderot / CC0

Cost to remove a tree

Before we start haggling about who pays what, let’s look at the cost to remove a tree these days.

Depending on size and condition, having a tree cut down will average somewhere between $400 and $2,000.

By contrast, the cost to haul away a fallen tree is substantially lower, averaging $75-$150.

Why the difference? In the case of a fallen tree, there is much less work – and less danger – involved. However, if you want to have the stump removed, that will run to an additional $150 or so.

Stump after tree removal LittleLuckyMd / Wikimedia

Know when tree removal is necessary

That lovely tree you enjoy so much can turn into a hazard if it:

  • dies
  • becomes diseased or pest-infested
  • is damaged by a storm or collision
  • grows roots that threaten underground utility lines and piping
  • hangs over your roof or power lines

Consult a tree removal specialist to find out whether the tree must go. In some cases, careful professional pruning can save your tree.

Tree damage Woodley Wonderworks / flickr

Who pays the cost to remove a tree?

When the problematic tree stands close to your property line, a question (or maybe an argument) comes up. Who is responsible for paying to have it removed -- you or your neighbor?

Generally, the tree is considered as belonging to the homeowner on whose property the trunk is located. If the tree is judged hazardous and must be chopped down, that homeowner should pay for removal.

Is the dangerous tree on your neighbor’s side of the fence? Start by politely requesting (in writing, just in case you need a paper trail later)) that they take care of it.

If there’s no response, contact your municipality -- or local utility company when the tree is encroaching on their lines or pipes. These official bodies may order your neighbor to pay the cost of tree removal; alternatively, they may remove it themselves.

When the tree is on the other foot (so to speak), meaning your side of the property line, you know what to do. Start searching for "an arborist near me"... and call a professional promptly.

Tree removal by crane! Daves Tree Removal Canada / Wikimedia

Can you get free tree removal?

The thought of getting rid of your no-longer-wanted tree for free is tempting, but there are 3 definite downsides, namely:

  1. Amateur tree removal tends to be dangerous, not to mention messy. There’s a reason why guys (or gals) with chainsaws feature in so many horror films. An inexperienced, uninsured arborist-wannabe can do a huge amount of harm. Besides, they likely don’t own the necessary specialized equipment – a crane, rigging sling, etc, etc.

  2. Rotten trees make lousy firewood. Even for someone who knows their way around a. chainsaw, your tree is useless if it happens to be rotten. What's more, many cities are banning wood-burning fireplaces these days.

  3. Logging companies don't want to bother with single trees. Never mind all the online advice blithely telling you to just contact a logging company. Commercial loggers won't find it worthwhile to haul their equipment over to your place to harvest just one tree.

Fallen tree Arlington County / Wikimedia

Will your insurance pay to remove your tree?

Read your homeowners insurance policy carefully before having that tree cut down. Usually, you will not be covered for costs associated with normal property maintenance, whether it’s routine care like. cleaning your gutters or a one-off expense such as the cost to remove a tree that is diseased or damaged.

Even worse, should you neglect said maintenance, your insurer could well refuse to pay any future claims which result from your neglect. (Ouch!)

However, if a formerly healthy tree falls due to a storm or similar disaster, the insurance company may reimburse you for damage to your home – minus the deductible, of course.

DISCLAIMER: This article was written for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

Winter tree removal Ross Dunn / Wikimedia

Laura Firszt writes for

Get Free Quotes

Looking for a Pro? Call us at (866) 441-6648

Get Free Quotes
  • Service Needed
  • Zip Code
Get quotes from qualified local contractors