Learn more about how home insurance policies cover tree damage and removal.
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Most often, your home insurance policy will cover tree removal if it has damaged your home or any other structures. This falls under the debris removal portion of your homeowners policy. Most insurers will cover such tree removal up to $1,000. Also, if a tree doesn’t damage your home or other structures, but blocks a driveway or mobility ramp, it’s removal is typically covered under your home insurance policy.
Read on for a deeper dive into home insurance and tree damage, including instances in which you wouldn't be covered.
Your insurance company is also likely to cover damages from a fallen tree, provided they are the result of a windstorm or other peril typically covered by a standard home insurance policy. This would cover your home, attached structures like garages or fences, and other structures such as freestanding sheds. Your deductible will apply to any damage caused to your primary dwelling or other insured structures.
If a fallen tree did not damage any structures on your property, it’s removal is not likely to be covered, unless — as stated above — it is blocking a driveway or other important pathway. Below are some other instances where your insurance company is not likely to pay for damages or tree removal.
Your homeowners insurance policy is not likely to cover diseased tree removal or damages to your home that it might cause. Diseased trees pose a threat to your property and the safety of its inhabitants. A single storm could knock it over, causing considerable damage. You as the homeowner are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of your yard and the trees and plants therein. As such, removal of these diseased trees and the damages caused by them are not often covered.
If a flood causes a tree to collapse that in turn damages your home, your insurance company is not likely to pay. Also, if the flood deposits a tree onto your property but does no harm to your home, its removal is still not covered. Flood insurance is sold as a separate policy, usually through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Earthquakes can be devastating to your home. Any damage caused by earthquakes is usually not covered by most home insurance companies. This also applies to trees damaged by the quake, whether those trees damage your home or not. States that are prone to such seismic activity can often purchase a separate earthquake policy.
If a neighbor’s tree falls and damages your property, both your damages and the removal of the tree are likely covered. In most cases, your insurance company will try to collect damages from your neighbor’s insurer. This is typically done through a process called subrogation in which the insurance companies investigate the situation and come to an agreement on who is responsible. If your neighbor is deemed responsible, you will likely have your deductible refunded.
If trees or shrubs are damaged, your home policy may cover them. Because landscaping can add value to your home, decorative shrubs and trees are often covered up to a certain limit under many homeowners policies. This limit is usually set at 5% of your dwelling coverage. Most insurance companies will also set a limit on any one tree or shrub.
While trees can be a beautiful addition to your yard, they can also cause considerable damage. If you need to make an insurance claim about a fallen tree, it’s important to know what’s covered. Read the fine print of your insurance policy to see what perils you are covered against. Also, reach out to your insurance agent if you need clarification about perils or your coverage limits.
If you are concerned about the cost of your home insurance, consider comparing rates and finding a new policy. The Zebra can help you find quotes from many of the top insurance companies in the country, giving you the chance to compare coverage options and prices side by side. Insert your ZIP code below to get started.
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