We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We had an unexpected one a year ago -- huge tree toppled in wind, its roots raising a large swathe of their lawn in the process.
By chance the biggest branches on the side that fell ended up straddling one of our vehicles, said vehicle being invisible from outside the fallen tree, but in a hollow amongst the branches so that it suffered not a scratch.
We suggested to the neighbor that they might want to get it cleaned it up, and they suggested that they could use the firewood, so (other than a little work with the battery sawzall with a brush blade so that we could get to work) we allowed them to do so. We even let them drive through our yard to access it and haul it away.
At the other place we have a neighbor with a lot of standing dead trees, and so far it has been a relief upon each return to see that the ones that have fallen have all managed to miss important things. Whenever we have tree-work done we suggest that we pay for the callout charge and all of our stuff, and they can pay for just the additional charge for making their trees safe, but so far it's always been a "bad time" for that.
If you can't afford to insure it, you can't afford to own it.
Unless you have enough savings to self-insure, that is, which is fine.
NPR recently ran a piece about how awful it is that, after a big disaster, people in comfortable financial circumstances recover faster. Duh. That's pretty much the definition of comfortable financial circumstances: having some cushion against the unexpected. Don't think FEMA is going to replace that.
I'm the guy who has his oaks trimmed up and dead stuff removed every 5 or 6 years. None of my neighbors do. And there's been a white oak blight around here, so some will fall.
Additionally the property lines are not perpendicular to the road. So there are trees that look like they are on my property but they aren't. Fortunately the deadest of the neighbor's trees cannot reach me when they topple or are VERY top heavy in the neighbors direction.
You have a right to trim any portion of any growth tree that hangs over your property. The stuff that hangs over my driveway, but is my neighbors, I have trimmed with everything else because, as with your neighbor, it is never a "good time" for them to spend "that much money". I don't want the aggravation of their tree's limbs wrecking my autos.
"Superstorm Sandy" brought a good sized oak branch down on my roof. Only punched a small hole but sounded like a bomb hitting the house. Rocked it pretty good also. Never expected to be up on my roof working a chainsaw. Oh well. I patched it myself with stuff on hand 'cause my roofer (a genuinely good guy) had to triage and deal with the worst cases first. When he finally got to me he told me my patch would last until I needed a new roof and, so far, it has.
Mebbe. The last place I lived I had a young cottonwood that had become an older, bigger, lightning damaged cottonwood. It had at first leaned over my neighbor's fence and then, later, over his house. I checked with my insurance agent and he assured me that, if that tree fell, I (and my insurance company) would not be liable. Where I live now I have a newer out-building close to the property line. There is a healthy (so far) elm tree on the adjacent property that leans over my building. At the first sign of dutch elm disease I expect to contact the landowner (as a courtesy) for permission to drop this tree and then to contact a pro to have the work done. This one is way beyond my chainsaw skill level to do myself. So I'm watching but taking no chances....
So right, Knucklehead. But it pays to stay good with your neighbors, and something can usually be worked out where you work together. However, sending a certified letter, either yourself or through the city or township attorney, that the tree is a wreck and a danger to your property, can usually get your insurance company a leg up on subrogation and getting your deductible back. At least here in Michigan.
Always check with your local government about the ordinances where you live. Here in Plano TX, the neighbor would get cited and given 30 days to correct the problem. After that, the city would correct it for them and send them the bill.