When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Removal?
If you look at your insurance policy, you’ll see your dwelling coverage laid out for you. A standard homeowners insurance policy covers damages from named perils that are listed. These named perils include smoke, fire, lightning, falling objects, and weight from ice, sleet, or snow. The good news? If a tree falls on your home because of one of these named perils, your insurance will pay the cost of tree removal.
Let’s say a tree falls far from your house. Note that even with a covered peril, it’s up to your insurance company to decide. Your insurer will determine whether or not the fallen tree caused damage to the insured structures on your property. Usually, if a covered peril causes damage to a covered structure, tree removal is also covered.
Do you run a business out of your home? If the company is tree-related, such as landscaping or nursery sales, a business insurance rider will cover the removal of any tree on your property. You should have coverage with an additional business rider for your business’ property to be covered with any company you run out of your home. If you’re running a similar business from your home and don’t have home insurance, you could be out thousands of dollars if something happens to your trees, plants, and shrubs.
Some events may result in loss of use. For example, a tree falls on your driveway and makes the property unusable. Your insurer may decide to cover tree removal. It’s always wise to double-check what’s included and excluded in your policy.
When is Tree Removal Not Covered?
In certain instances, your insurance would not cover tree removal. The reasoning for a claim denial can get a little tricky. Let’s say a windstorm or snowstorm comes and does not damage a covered structure on your property, but a tree lands on your lawn. In this case, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover tree removal. You will have to pay for tree removal out of pocket.
The standard HO-3 home insurance policy excludes the cost of tree removal in certain events. Let’s say you have damage due to flooding or an earthquake. You may live in a high-risk area on a flood plain or with frequent ground movements. Since most HO-3 homeowners insurance policies do not include flood insurance or earthquake insurance, they will not cover tree removal due to flooding. You would have to buy an additional policy to cover damage from these events. Ask your insurance agent for additional coverage or riders to see if you may need one for your property.
Always check the wording on your policy. There are usually limits on landscaping coverage. Sometimes an insurer will only pay for the replacement of a certain tree or tree removal, depending on the peril. Most policies will list the included perils such as fire, vandalism, explosion, theft, and damage. Talk to your local agent to find out if your policy covers replacement costs or only tree removal.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Removal After a Storm?
Storms may come with wind, hail, ice, sleet, and snow. These perils are typically covered by standard home insurance coverage. Note that a home policy only applies to covered structures, not property land. Consider this scenario: You have a line of maple trees on your property close to your house. A violent storm comes, and they blow over and damage your roof. You file a claim and pay your deductible. Then, your insurance company will pay for the roofing repairs and tree removals. In this case, the storm damaged your covered structure. But if the trees did not cause damage to your covered structure, then you would have to pay out of pocket to remove them.
In another scenario, your tree is struck by lightning. It splits in half but doesn’t damage your home. In this case, the insurance company would still pay for tree removal. The reason? Lightning is a covered peril on your property, no matter what. Fire, lightning, riots, vandalism, aircraft, and explosions are covered on a property’s standard policy. But remember that coverage for snow, wind storm, hail, and ice is only on your dwelling’s structure.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Diseased Tree Removal?
Do you see signs of deterioration on your tree? You may see that it has rot, has a disease, or is aging. You may need to remove a tree from your property due to one of these reasons. In this case, you will need to pay for removal on your own. Homeowners insurance does not cover the usual rot and disease on an old tree.
There are also strange instances that may cause your insurance adjuster to deny a claim for tree removal or cleanup after a covered peril. Your insurance adjuster may determine the tree to be damaged, diseased, or rotten before the event. If your insurance claim is denied, you will have to pay to remove the tree on your own.
What If a Tree Fell on a Neighbor’s Property?
Let’s say your tree falls on your neighbor’s property. Who is responsible for the neighbor’s yard? They are responsible for the tree falling in their yard. Your neighbor should submit a claim under their insurance as soon as possible. The neighbor’s insurance company is responsible for the structural damage costs under their covered perils. If your neighbor’s tree falls in your yard, you will use your homeowners insurance to cover tree removal and damage under any covered perils. Your insurance company may decide to use a process called subrogation, which is the attempt to collect money from your neighbor’s insurance company. It may be necessary if the fallen tree was not properly maintained or in poor health and they knew about it.