Is Tree Removal Covered by Home Insurance?

Fran
Fran Majidi
July 3, 2019

Is there a diseased tree in your yard or did a storm come and pass, causing a tree to become a danger on your property? Or, do you just want to clear the land of trees to build a swimming pool? There are many reasons why a homeowner would want to get rid of a tree on their property and not all of them are covered by insurance. However, homeowners insurance often does cover the cost of tree removal after a storm, but not always. If you’ve cut down a tree, homeowners will remove the tree depending on how it was cut down and where it landed.


You can’t just go and cut down a tree or two and expect your homeowners insurance to pick up the tab. If you’re doing it for cosmetic reasons or because the tree is old and/or rotting, you’re going to have to pick up the tab yourself. 


If you want to save money on home insurance, cover rates here. Otherwise, here are general rules governing tree removal and home insurance coverage.


Ice, Storms, Hail


Basically, homeowners insurance will pay for a tree removal due to instances of storm, ice and hail, if the tree falls on the home but not if it falls on the lawn or empty space. If it falls on a shed or other covered structure it will be covered. There are other instances in which a tree will need to be removed, like fire, lightning, explosion, riot, aircraft, vehicles not owned by you, vandalism or theft. In all of the aforementioned instances you would be covered, even if the tree fell on the lawn or empty space. 


Tree Fell After Earthquake or Flood


Homeowners insurance also would not cover you if a flood or earthquake caused the tree to fall on the home, law, or empty space. The reason why flood and earthquake would not cover the tree is that flood insurance and earthquake insurance are entirely separate from home insurance. If you buy flood insurance or earthquake insurance, these policies would cover you if a tree fell on your house or property due to a flood or earthquake.


Neighbor’s Tree


 If a tree from another property falls into your home or yard, your home insurance would cover the removal. If a tree falls on your car, the insurer will probably cover the removal of the tree if it fell because of a fire, lightning, explosion, riot, aircraft, vehicles not owned by you, vandalism or theft.


Conclusion


To put it simply, if a tree falls on the property without causing damage to the home, you must pay to have it removed. You’re covered, however, if a tree falls as a result of a fire, lightning, explosion, riot, aircraft, vehicles not owned by you, vandalism or theft, and the tree needs to be removed from the property. 


If there were ways you could’ve prevented a tree from falling in your yard, you will not be covered (age, rot). 


How Much Does Insurance Pay for Tree Removal if Covered?

While insurance coverage varies from one insurer to another, roof removal is usually covered for up to 5% of your total dwelling coverage and up to $500 per tree (some policies only cover $250; some cover up to a $1,000 per tree). If there is more than 1 tree, the insurance company will cover up to the same limit for each tree. This amount is usually more than adequate for tree removal, not counting the damage the tree(s) may have done. Keep in mind that in order to get paid for the tree removal you will have to first pay your deductible. Your deductible costs anywhere between $250 and $1,000 so it may make sense for you to pay for the tree removal out-of-pocket. Also, your rate may go up if you file a claim. Is it worth it? Even if your rate does not increase, you will have a ding in your account. Homeowners insurers don’t like it when you file too many claims so you have to choose your battles wisely or risk getting dropped. If you get dropped by your insurer, you will have a hard time finding another insurer to cover you on a new home insurance policy. 


If there is damage done to the house because of a fallen tree, that’s another situation entirely. If that does happen, there will probably be extreme damage to a roof and possibly the structure of your house. Many home insurance companies will suggest a contractor at a fair price to access the damage. How much of that claim is paid by the insurer depends on your policy and the limits set on it. 


This is why it’s important for you to have home insurance. Trees do fall on people’s houses. Sometimes cars drive into the garage. Often storms will cause major damage too. These are the types of perils you should be covered for when you buy home insurance. If you want to see if you can save some money for the same or even better quality home insurance policy, compare rates here by entering your zip code. 



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