Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Fallen Trees?

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Are fallen trees covered under standard homeowners insurance policies?
When and how does homeowners insurance cover fallen trees?
How much do I have to pay if homeowners insurance does cover fallen trees?
If homeowners insurance doesn’t cover fallen trees, what will?
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Are fallen trees covered under standard homeowners insurance policies?

As a new homeowner, I’m curious about what all is covered under my insurance. I live in a heavily wooded area and sometimes worry about the damage one of my trees could cause if it fell. I also wonder if I’d be covered if one of my neighbor’s trees fell on my property. Are fallen trees covered under standard homeowners policies?

Yes, what’s known as "tree damage cleanup" is built into standard homeowners insurance policies. This coverage includes the removal of trees or shrubs that fall on insured structures, as well as any necessary repairs or debris cleanup. Your coverage might also include reimbursement to replace the fallen tree or shrub (if the cause of its fall was due to a covered peril) up to a specified limit.

When and how does homeowners insurance cover fallen trees?

You’ll need to review your specific policy to double-check your coverage, but standard homeowners insurance policies can provide coverage for fallen trees in a number of ways. Your insurance might pay to remove the fallen tree itself, pay for the repairs required on the insured structure it fell on, and more. We’ll take a closer look at the commonly covered scenarios.

Homeowners insurance provides coverage for fallen trees in the following ways:

  • Fallen tree and shrub removal: Coverage will pay for the removal of fallen trees/shrubs, usually up to $1,000 total, as long as the cause of the fall was a covered peril. Depending on the policy, covered perils often include hail, ice, snow, sleet, or wind.
  • Damage due to a neighbor’s fallen tree: Say a tree that doesn’t even belong to you falls on your house. This coverage can pay for the damage to your home (or other insured property like a patio or vehicle) if the cause of its fall was a covered peril. Coverage can also pay to remove the tree if it blocks your driveway or handicapped ramp.
  • Debris cleanup and removal: Trees tend to leave behind a mess when they fall. Along with the removal of the actual plant, coverage can pay to clean up the debris left behind, whether that be sticks and leaves or broken glass.
  • Replacement of the fallen tree and shrub: Standard policies provide coverage for the replacement costs of  fallen trees and shrubs, as long as they were damaged by covered perils like fire, vandalism, lightning, etc. However, many policies exclude tree and shrub replacement if water or wind caused the fall.

If a fallen tree or shrub damages your property or blocks your driveway or handicapped ramp, you should be covered. You’re also covered if your neighbor’s fallen tree or shrub damages your property or blocks your driveway or handicapped ramp. However, if the tree falls due to non-covered perils or makes a clean fall and doesn't cause any damage or block driveway or ramp access, you probably won’t be covered.

How much do I have to pay if homeowners insurance covers fallen trees?

If the fallen tree causes damage to an insured structure or other piece of property or blocks your driveway or handicapped ramp, you’ll be covered up to your specific policy’s limit for that category of coverage. There’s typically a $500 limit for the removal of each specific tree or shrub. The average cost to remove a fallen tree ranges from $75 to $150, depending on its size. A standard homeowners policy usually limits tree removal coverage to $1,000 total.

If your tree or even your neighbor’s tree falls on your home, you’ll be covered up to your policy’s limit for the dwelling itself for repairs, after meeting your deductible. You’ll also be covered if the tree falls on other insured personal property, up to the limit for that category in your specific policy. Work with your independent insurance agent to review how much coverage you have and decide whether your limits are high enough for you. You can always buy more coverage.

If homeowners insurance doesn’t cover fallen trees, what will?

You’ll be covered under your homeowners insurance policy as long as the fallen tree matches one of the requirements listed above. However, if the tree falls due to a non-covered peril or makes a clean fall without damaging property, you won’t be covered. There’s not really an insurance policy to help with that. You’d be paying out of pocket for it. If you live in a heavily wooded area, it’s a good idea to review this section of your personal homeowners policy.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin

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