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Is Tree Removal Covered by Home Insurance?

Every year, bad weather weakens the root systems of trees, causing them to topple over and fall. Some trees cause major damage to houses and homeowners' personal belongings. Others create yard hazards by damaging landscaping and lawn systems.

Tree removal can be costly, but it will help make your lawn a safer place for you, your family and guests. But does your homeowners insurance pay for the cost of tree removal services? Yes, if a tree falls due to a covered peril, it is covered by homeowners insurance.

Most policies protect you against the following perils:

  • Fires
  • Smoke damage
  • Windstorms and tornadoes
  • Hail
  • Heavy snow or ice weight
  • Lightning
  • Theft
  • Explosions
  • Civil unrest or riots
  • Vandalism
  • Damage caused by car crashes or aircraft collisions into your home
  • Falling objects
  • Volcanic eruptions

Homeowners insurance policies don't cover:

  • Earthquakes
  • Flooding

To receive protection for these perils, you must purchase specialty insurance policies that cover floods and earthquakes.

Before you sign up for a homeowners policy, read your insurance policy terms. It will provide information about which situations and perils your policy reimburses you for damage caused by trees. Speak with your local insurance agent if you have any questions about filing a tree damage claim.

When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Removal?

A standard homeowners insurance policy usually includes a debris removal statute, including tree removal services as long as it's due to a named peril. It includes heavy ice, windstorms, fires, severe thunderstorms and other dangers.

A standard homeowners insurance policy usually includes a debris removal statute, including tree removal services as long as it's due to a named peril.

For instance, if your house is built next to tall pine trees, and one of them falls onto your house after a blizzard, your insurer would cover tree removal expenses and any repairs you need.

Your homeowners insurance coverage will also pay for damage that the tree causes to your house, belongings, and unattached structures on your property (garage, fence, shed, deck, etc.;). In this case, comprehensive coverage would most likely cover your cars.

Your home policy will typically cover damages when trees fall down.

Why the Tree Fell Down

Location Tree Fell

Is Removal Covered?

Severe Thunderstorm, Hail, Wind storm

Your home, property structure

Yes

Snow or Ice Storm

Your home, property structure

Yes

Lightning or Fire

Your home, property structure

Yes

Additionally, when a tree falls on your property but doesn't damage the structures of your home, your insurance company may not cover tree removal costs. If a tree falling onto your property damages one of your vehicles, your auto insurance will cover the damage.

Why the Tree Fell Down

Location Tree Fell

Is Removal Covered?

Severe Thunderstorm, Hail, Windstorm

Your lawn or empty spot

No

Snow or Ice Storm

Your lawn or driveway

No

Lightning or Fire

Your lawn or driveway

No

Disasters (Flood or Earthquake)

Home, lawn or driveway

No

Rot, Age or Disease

Home, lawn or driveway

No

What Happens After a Tree Falls On Your Home During a Storm?

If a tree falls on your home because of a severe storm, you can file an insurance claim with the carrier, regardless of who owned the tree. Your home insurance policy may also pay for the removal of trees and clean-up.

During a hurricane or windstorm, your trees and shrubbery can turn into sharp projectiles that travel long distances and cause major property damages. Some of these objects may have flown from another neighbor's property, but most insurance companies won't spend much time trying to pinpoint the origin of these branches.

If the insurance company determines that the fallen tree belonged to your neighbor, they will use the subrogation process to collect money from your neighbor's insurance company.

If the insurance company determines that the fallen tree belonged to your neighbor, they will use the subrogation process to collect money from your neighbor's insurance company. If they successfully collect this money from your neighbor, your insurance company may reimburse you for your deductible.

Damage Caused by a Fallen Tree - Get the Right Coverage

Your Insurance Policy Has Tree Service Removal Coverage Limits

Under a standard homeowners insurance policy, your debris removal provision covers tree removal.

Most insurers limit the amount of coverage they provide for tree removal services. Most will pay up to a $1,000 policy limit for tree removal, but no more than $500 for each tree.

Most insurers will pay up to a $1,000 policy limit for tree removal, but no more than $500 for each tree.

For instance, what if heavy rains and straight-line thunderstorm winds topple a giant oak tree that crashes into your home? After you paid a $750 deductible, your insurance company would cover the rest of the expenses up to the $1,000 allotment. If the tree removal service charges you 1,500 to remove the fallen tree from your yard, your insurance company would give you a $750 check after you paid your $750 deductible.

What if the storm blew through your neighborhood, knocking down four oak trees into your yard? If the removal company charges you $1,000 to remove each tree, it will cost you a total of $4,000.

Your insurance company will only pay $500 for each tree up to the $1,000 policy limit, after your $750 deductible. You would be responsible for paying the remaining portion of your bill out of pocket.

Will My Homeowners Insurance Policy Pay for Property Damages Caused by a Fallen Tree?

Has a bad storm crashed into your home and ruined your personal belongings? If so, your dwelling and personal property coverages will cover the replacement cost of new items up to the policy's limit.

Most homeowners' policies will also reimburse you for damaged landscaping.

Most homeowners' policies will also reimburse you for damaged landscaping. Your insurance company will pay up to five percent of your policy's dwelling coverage to replant landscaping destroyed by a fallen tree or storm. For instance, if the dwelling limit is $250,000, the insurance company may pay up to $12,500 to replace your shrubs, trees and other items.

Does it Make Sense to File an Insurance Claim for Tree Removal?

Whether you file an insurance claim should depend on the cost of removal services. Usually, larger trees are more expensive to remove. Most homeowners can expect to pay a cost between $150 to $2,000 for tree removal services, with $700 - $750 being the average range. Smaller trees can cost much less money to remove.

Get an Estimate

When searching for a tree removal service, make sure you get a repair estimate from a certified arborist who is insured for tree removal. These professionals must regularly update their credentials.

It may not make sense to file a claim for your home insurance if you only have a small, single tree to remove from your house. If you have extensive damage, it may make sense to take action by filing a claim.

If your landscaping was damaged got to nursery sales and get pricing to for replacing your garden.

Consider Your Deductible

Most homeowner insurance deductibles range between $750 to $1,000. If it only costs less than $150 to remove the tree from your yard, consider paying for this expense out of pocket. If the tree has caused major damage to your house or property, you may file an insurance claim.

Damage Caused by a Fallen Tree - Get the Right Coverage

Consider Additional Purchasing Optional Coverages to Pay for Tree Removal

Most homeowners' policies limit the number of damages they cover under their policy. If you live in an area with many trees or forests, you should consider adding a rider (endorsement) to your insurance in case the worst happens. This coverage can help pay for the costs of tree debris removal and damages that they cause on your property.

An endorsement allows you to raise the overall limit for certain categories of coverage. When you purchase these additional insurance coverages, your insurer will reimburse you for damages up to the new limits.

1.) Debris Removal Endorsement

This add-on option helps cover clean-up costs from named perils in your policy. Although it doesn't specifically mention tree removal, these services would qualify under your policy. Insurance companies limit this endorsement to 25 percent of your liability and property loss. However, if a storm has caused major damages to your property, this coverage would help cover the costs to clean and restore your property.

This rider can also increase the per-tree removal limit from $500 to $1,000. It will also boost your dwelling or hazard coverage to a higher amount than five percent.

2.) Yard and Garden Endorsement

You should consider this endorsement landscaping coverage. This insurance will pay to restore your landscaping and foliage if you have a large property. It increases and extends your policy limits for landscaping and tools.

Your insurer will pay the replacement costs for your damaged landscaping and lawn if an uprooted tree causes damages to your shrubs, flowerbeds or sprinkler systems. This endorsement will also pay the cost for damaged equipment, like lawnmowers and other garden tools. You can speak with a local agent to learn about the terms of your policy.

Other Coverages

There are additional coverages that you may want to consider if you are concerned about debris or tree removal.

1.) Flood Insurance

If you live in a flood-prone area, you may want to consider getting flood insurance from an insurer. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) manages this coverage through its National Flood Insurance Program. Waters can weaken a tree's root systems causing it to fall over. The standard flood insurance doesn't cover tree removal or debris removal, but you can purchase additional riders to this coverage that will cover it.

2.) Hurricane Insurance

Do you live near a coastal area where tropical storm-force or hurricane-force winds batter your region? Consider getting hurricane insurance. The settlement you receive will depend on whether flooding or wind caused your tree to fall down.

3.) Earthquake Insurance

Earthquakes move soil and dirt, causing the root system of trees to tear apart or break. This insurance not only covers earthquakes. It also provides reimburses you for the cost damage triggered by the earthquake and related dangers. You'll also receive help with debris removal.

Negotiating the Price of Tree Removal

You should understand how much tree removal costs before you contact a professional service. If not, you can end up getting a professional who charges too much. Additionally, a service that charges an underpriced rate may not be a reputable service. Here are the average prices for tree removal.

  • Large Trees: $1000 – $1500
  • Medium Trees: $500 – $1000
  • Small Trees: $200 – $500
  • Fallen Trees: $75 – $150
  • Tree Stumps: $65 – $1000

To negotiate fees, you can agree to do some jobs yourself. For instance, you can agree to keep the chopped logs, instead of having them haul them away. You can use this leftover wood for your barbecue pit or wood in your fireplace.

You can also throw out the excess branches, stems, and leaves yourself instead of having the tree service clean it up.

How to Prevent Damage from Falling Trees

Getting the right home insurance coverage is essential to protect yourself from damage to your home caused by fallen trees. The best insurers can provide you with enough insurance to protect your needs. 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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