It really only takes one strong gust of wind to knock over that 70-year-old tree in your front yard. If that happens, you’re going to want to know how your homeowners insurance comes into play. We’re here to explain!
You might be wondering if damage caused by fallen trees is covered by your homeowners policy. Well, the short answer is, it depends. Coverage for fallen trees typically depends on a number of factors, such as what caused the tree to fall and what kind of damage resulted. Here are answers to some of our client’s most frequently asked questions about trees.
Will I be covered if a tree on my property causes damage to my home?
A homeowners insurance policy typically protects your home and other structures (such as a fence or shed) against specific causes of loss, known as perils. Covered perils usually include damage caused by wind. Remember, the situation that caused your tree to fall is very important. Especially if you have to file a claim. If the tree was otherwise considered healthy and only damaged your home because of wind, your insurance may help pay to repair damage to your home or other structures on your property.
However, that is not the case if the loss or damage was caused by negligence or a maintenance-related issue. If that tree was already rotting and ready to fall down before the storm, it’s going to be on you to cover the costs.
What if my neighbor’s tree fell on my house?
If the fallen tree belongs to your neighbor, or if it was on their property line, your insurance most likely will help pay for removal and repairs. However, if it’s obvious that their tree is dead or rotting and your neighbor was negligent, their insurance company should cover the damage.
Am I responsible if a tree from my property falls on a neighbor’s house?
Again, we go back to the negligence thing. You’re only held responsible if tree-neglect on your part was a contributing factor to the tree’s downfall. If not – say a storm knocked your healthy tree onto your neighbor Jenny’s roof – Jenny will likely have to file a claim through her own insurance.
Will my insurance cover tree removal?
Your home insurance company will not just swing by and help remove a dangerous or dying (but still upright) tree from your property. However, it will typically cover cleanup and tree removal if a tree falls and damages your property as a result of certain limited perils and is blocking your driveway or meets other requirements. Removal of dangerous trees is the homeowner’s responsibility and considered a regular part of home and yard maintenance. It’s really in your best interest to keep your yard in tip-top shape because it reduces the chance of an accident and claim. Plus if you’re competitive, some neighborhoods even give out awards for the cleanest lawn! That should be enough incentive to keep your trees trimmed.
For specific information regarding your homeowners policy, check with your agent to learn what types of coverage and how much coverage your policy provides for fallen trees.