AG offers tips for having fallen trees removed from property

Officials: Get written contract for job over $500, make sure company insured

Posted: 4:25 PM EDT Nov 02, 2012   Updated: 5:47 PM EDT Nov 02, 2012
Tree down on wires

Trees brought down by Hurricane Sandy will no doubt continue to play havoc with homeowners, but what do you need to know to get rid of your tree?

Bill VanderWerff, of Jaflo Tree Service, provided 69 News with the price for removing a large oak that fell across Route 873 Monday night.

"Considering the size of the wood, you're looking at a couple of thousand dollars," he said.

VanderWerff said he bases his price on the expected man-hours to finish the job but admitted removal costs do go up after storms.

"Because running into overtime and work is not your typical work," he said.  "As far as price-gouging, use common sense. If you have someone in a pickup and with chainsaw and wants to charge you all sorts of money, an alarm should go off."

Ads already litter Craiglist, offering free cutting service in exchange for the wood. Insurance companies, however, warn that if they don't have insurance and get injured on your property, you could be stuck paying their medical bill.

"Your safest thing is to get a reputable company that has been in the area awhile. They are fully insured for property damage but also for their people," VanderWerff said.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General's office offers this advice.  Get a written contract for any job over $500.  Also, find a company registered with the its bureau of consumer protection. You also have to check your insurance policy to see how much the insurance will cover. In many cases, it's around $500.