Stately trees add beauty and value to your property, but they can also add an element of danger. What happens if a tree falls on your house, or damages your property in some other way? Does homeowners insurance cover fallen tree damage? Will homeowners insurance cover tree removal?
Fallen trees might be handled differently by various carriers, but every insurer will almost certainly investigate what caused the tree to fall. In most cases, homeowners insurance does cover tree damage, but it might not cover everything.
What to do if a tree falls on your house?
If a tree lands on your home, you need to file a claim with your insurance company. Even if a tree doesn’t fall on your house, shrubs and branches can act like projectiles during a hurricane or windstorm, traveling considerable distances to inflict damage on your property. Most likely, all of this damage will be covered under your homeowners policy.
Does homeowners insurance pay for tree removal?
Not only do fallen trees cause property damage, but they also create quite a mess that must be cleaned up and removed. Many policies have limited coverage on fallen tree removal. There could be a maximum dollar limit of perhaps $500 or $1000. Also, keep in mind that your homeowners insurance might not pay for tree removal if there was no structural damage.
If a neighbor's tree falls on my house, am I covered?
In most cases where a neighbor’s tree falls on your house, your insurance company will pay. If they believe that the neighbor (or any third party) is responsible for the damage, they will reimburse you first and then go after the responsible party. This is called subrogation. If they succeed in recovering the costs of the claim in subrogation, they might reimburse you for any deductible when things are settled.
Will insurance cover a dead tree falling on our house?
As mentioned earlier, your insurance company will investigate the reason why a tree fell on your house, and if they can prove the tree fell because you didn’t make the appropriate preventative efforts (taking the dead tree down safely) to avoid a preventable loss (the dead tree falling on your house or other structure), your claim could be denied.
Simply put, neglect is excluded in most homeowner’s policies, so if you knew you had a dead or decayed tree on your property, proper maintenance would dictate that it be removed. If you failed to do so, it could be interpreted as not having taken the necessary steps to avoid a preventable loss.
If that tree were to fall and damage your neighbor’s property, however, the liability portion of your homeowners insurance policy would probably cover the damage, along with any legal costs and lawyer fees if your neighbor sues you.
Will my homeowners insurance cover gradual tree damage?
If a tree fell from a windstorm, your insurance would cover it because this is an example of sudden and accidental damage. However, if the roots of that tree had grown into your house or plumbing, this is gradual damage. And even though this damage is typically very costly to repair, it would not be covered because roots do not grow suddenly or accidentally.
If the root damage caused a secondary issue such as your pipe bursting and water entering your home suddenly, you might be covered for the water damage.
Will homeowners insurance cover tree damage to my car?
If you were parked underneath one of your trees on a stormy night, it wouldn’t be all that unusual to find a large limb, or maybe even the whole tree, on top of your car the next morning. Your homeowners insurance does not cover damage if a tree falls on your car.
If you have comprehensive coverage as part of your auto policy, however, you might be able to file an auto insurance claim. Comprehensive coverage usually helps pay for damage to your car caused by falling objects.
If a tree falls on my house, will homeowners insurance replace the tree?
Most homeowners policies pay to replace trees, shrubs, and plants against specific perils:
- Damage from someone else’s vehicle
Other risks to landscaping are generally not covered by homeowners insurance. These risks include damage caused by weather conditions:
- The weight of ice and snow
Other risks not covered include damage caused by:
Coverage is typically limited to five percent of the amount of insurance on the house. Many insurers will cap the coverage for any one tree, shrub, or plant.
Don’t forget to consider your valuable trees as you determine how much homeowners insurance is suitable for you. For all your insurance needs, NSI Insurance Group is here to help.