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Almost everyone knows that trees and other living plants are valuable. They beautify our surroundings, purify our air, act as sound barriers, manufacture precious oxygen, and help us save energy through their cooling shade in summer and their wind reduction in winter.
Many people don't realize, however, that plants have a dollar value of their own that can be measured by competent plant appraisers. If your trees or shrubs are damaged or destroyed, you may be able to recapture your loss through an insurance claim or as a deduction from your federal income tax.
Some Practical Advice
Here is some practical advice that may help you find out what your trees and plants are worth (a process known as valuation).
Planning for Highest Value
A professional in the tree, nursery, or landscape industry can help you plan, develop, install, and care for all of your trees and plants so that each of them will be worth more to you.
How Your Trees and Shrubs Are Valuated
Seek the advice of professionals in this industry who have developed a set of guidelines for the valuation. Such guidelines have been widely adopted in the field and are recognized by insurance companies, the courts, and, in some cases, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
What to Do If You Suffer Loss or Damage to Your Landscape Plants
A casualty loss is defined by the IRS as ". a loss resulting from an identifiable event of sudden, unexpected, or unusual nature." This definition can include such events as vehicular accidents, storms, floods, lightning, vandalism, or even air and soil pollution.
If you suffer damage to trees or landscaping from any type of casualty, first consult your home owner's insurance policy to determine the amount and kind of coverage. Contact the insurance company to have an appraisal made by a competent tree and landscape professional who is experienced in plant appraisal. Have the appraisal made right after your loss or damage.
The tree and landscape appraiser accomplishes many things for you. The professional can see things you might miss, help correct damage, and prescribe remedies you may be able to do yourself. The appraiser will establish the amount of your loss in financial terms, including the cost of removing debris and making repairs as well as replacements. All of these steps are wise investments and well worth the cost you may incur for the inspection.
Four Factors in Professional Valuation of Trees and Other Plants
All of these factors can be measured in dollars and cents. They can determine the value of a tree, specimen shrubs, or evergreens, whether for insurance purposes, court testimony in lawsuits, or tax deductions.
These steps should be taken before and after any casualty loss to your trees and landscape. Taking them can improve the value of your investment in nature's green, growing gifts and prevent financial loss should they be damaged or destroyed.
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