Homeowners insurance can pay for damage and removal if a tree falls, but only under certain circumstances. Insurance pays for damage that the policyholder could not have prevented. It doesn’t cover damage that occurs because the homeowner failed to care for the property. Whether a fallen tree damages a structure is another important factor that can affect coverage.
When Tree Removal Will and Won’t Be Covered
If a healthy tree falls because of a storm with strong winds, hail, snow or ice and damages your house or another covered structure, such as a shed, your insurance policy should cover repairs to your property, as well as the cost to have the tree removed. If the tree was decaying and in danger of falling, but you did nothing about it, your insurance company will most likely refuse to pay for damage and removal if the tree falls in a storm.
If a tree falls down because of a storm, but it doesn’t damage your house or another structure, you will probably have to pay for tree removal yourself. Your insurance company may, however, pay to have the tree removed if it blocks your driveway. If a tree in your yard falls because of another covered peril, such as fire or lightning, your insurance carrier should pay for tree removal costs, even if the tree doesn’t damage a structure.
Earthquakes and floods aren’t covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy. If a tree falls because of one of those events and you don’t have a separate earthquake or flood insurance policy, your insurer will deny a claim for tree removal.
If a tree in your yard falls and damages your car, you will have to file a claim for damage to the vehicle through your auto insurance policy. Your homeowners insurance policy may pay for tree removal if the tree falls because of a covered peril.
What Happens When a Neighbor’s Tree Falls
If your neighbor’s tree falls onto your property due to a covered peril, you will have to file a claim for tree removal costs through your own homeowners insurance company. Your insurer may seek reimbursement from your neighbor’s insurance carrier. If your insurer determines that the tree fell because of your neighbor’s neglect, you may be able to file a liability claim with your neighbor’s homeowners insurance company.
Understand Your Coverage
The total your insurance company will pay for tree removal is usually a percentage of your dwelling coverage. The insurer will limit the amount it will pay for each individual tree to be removed.
When you file a homeowners insurance claim, you will have to pay a deductible before your insurer will foot the remainder of the bill. If a tree falls but doesn’t damage a structure, it may not make sense to file a claim just for tree removal.
Every situation is unique. If you have questions about coverage, review your policy or contact your insurance company or agent.