Picture this: you and your family are sitting comfortably in the living room of your two-story home during a storm that includes heavy rain and high winds. Suddenly, a tremendous crash shakes the house and rattles the dishes. Your first thought is that a small plane got lost in the storm and landed on your roof, so you rush outside to confirm the worst.
As it turns out, it was not something that fell from the sky but rather one of your tallest oak trees that uprooted from a combination of saturated ground and 45-mile-per-hour winds. As you survey the damage, one question enters your mind: does homeowners insurance cover fallen tree damage? We got some answers for you, so read on to find out!
DOES HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVER FALLEN TREES?
The answer is, “Yes.” If a tree falls on your house, you can file a claim with your insurance company. Windstorms and hurricanes can uproot trees or turn large branches into missiles that can travel extended distances and cause significant damage to your property. Insurance also provides coverage if lightning or hail had caused the tree to fall.
If the tree had hit another insured structure, such as a detached garage or storage building, your homeowners policy would cover the damage to the building and anything stored in it.
You should be aware that homeowners insurance does not cover inadequate maintenance. That is why you must minimize damage from your trees by trimming them and removing dead branches so that ice, snow, and wind cannot cause weak trees or branches to break free.
DOES HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVER TREE DAMAGE FROM A NEIGHBOR’S TREE?
You would need to file a claim if the tree came from your neighbor’s property. In some cases, your insurance company might attempt to collect from the neighbor’s company and you could be reimbursed for any deductible.
If the fallen tree was dead or rotting, you could claim your neighbor was negligent and should have removed it. But that can be difficult to prove unless you asked your neighbor to remove it or you have a letter from a certified professional saying it needed to be removed. If your neighbor is deemed negligent, their homeowners insurance will have to cover it.
DOES HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVER FALLEN TREE DAMAGE TO A NEIGHBOR’S HOUSE?
If a tree from your yard causes damage next door, it’s up to your neighbor to put in a claim with his or her insurer. While your neighbor could file a claim against your insurance company if the tree that fell were unhealthy, it seldom happens because those claims end up being costly and time-consuming. The homeowner’s carrier typically pays the damages no matter the condition of the tree.
WILL HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVER TREE REMOVAL?
Depending on the circumstances, homeowners insurance will pay for tree removal. Your insurer will not pay to remove a tree that is diseased and has not yet fallen. General maintenance of the home and yard, such as removing an unhealthy tree, is the homeowner’s responsibility.
However, if a tree falls in a storm and damages the house, home insurance typically will pay to repair the damage and remove the tree, usually up to the policy limits of $500 or $1,000.
If the tree fell in the yard without damaging any structures, you would have to pay to remove the tree. Home insurance rarely covers tree removal unless it has fallen and damaged the house, detached structures, or a fence.
Homeowners insurance might cover tree removal if it falls and blocks a driveway or a ramp for a disabled person.
HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE WILL PROBABLY COVER LANDSCAPING DAMAGED BY A FALLEN TREE
Standard homeowners insurance policies generally cover damage to landscaping caused by “named perils” such as windstorms, fire, lightning, or vandalism. The coverage is usually limited to a certain percentage of the amount for which the home is insured. Many insurers also cap the coverage on any one shrub, tree, or plant.
How can someone ensure that their homeowners insurance provides ample coverage?
The insurance advisors at White Cloud Insurance will help you choose the right coverage for your circumstances–and your budget. We can provide you with the homeowners insurance you need at a premium you can afford. Never take chances. Contact our reliable experts by using the convenient contact form, calling us at 305-556-1488, or sending us a message at email@example.com.