Fallen Tree Damage and Homeowners Insurance

Violent storms can uproot trees, causing them to topple onto homes. What happens if a tree suddenly crashes through your roof? Will insurance cover the cost of tree removal? Does it pay for the structural damages that result from it?

In this article, you'll learn when home insurance claims cover tree damage and when they don't.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Fallen Trees and Other Damages?

The answer to this question depends on the source of damage and the tree's health.

Standard homeowners insurance policies protect your home and unattached structures, such as fences and sheds, against a covered peril listed in your policy. Common perils are wind, rain, fire and lightning strikes.

Your home insurance covers tree damage to your house when an otherwise healthy tree crashes into your home.

According to The Insurance Information Institute, it doesn't matter who owns the tree, your insurance will still cover you. If your home suffers tree damage due to a neighbor's large oak, your insurance company may pay the claim and then attempt to collect the money from your neighbor's insurance company using a process called subrogation.

When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Removal After a Storm?

High winds can easily topple trees onto your property. If a tree falls onto your home, you may need a tree removal service to take it from your property.

Standard homeowners insurance policies cover tree damage to house structures when an otherwise healthy tree crashes into them.

Additionally, you may need to cover repairs to your home's structure. Here are some instances where standard homeowners insurance policies cover tree damage or debris removal.

Cause of Tree Falling Where the Tree Falls (House) Insurance Coverage for Damages?
Storm, hail, iceHouseYes

When Does Homeowners Insurance Not Cover Tree Damage?

Homeowners insurance doesn't cover losses from tree damage caused by poor maintenance or neglect. For instance, if an insurance adjuster sees the tree was rotten and fell, your homeowners insurance wouldn't cover the damages.

Homeowners insurance won’t cover losses from tree damage caused by poor maintenance or neglect.

How Much Does Tree Removal Cost?

The average cost to cut down a tree ranges from $400 to $2000 and to haul it away, $75 to $150. The average price for one tree is $700-$750.

How Much Does Insurance Pay for Tree Removal?

Usually, a homeowners insurance policy will pay up to 5% of your total dwelling coverage for tree removal. For instance, if you have $400,000 in dwelling coverage, your insurer would cap your repair costs for tree and debris removal at $20,000. Insurers may also limit how much they will spend per tree.

Find a Better Homeowners Insurance Coverage

Should I File a Claim?

Consider your deductible and a possible rate hike before you decide to file a claim. Deductibles are shared costs you must pay before your insurance covers your damages. The average deductible ranges from $750 - $1,000.

The median cost to haul away a tree ranges from $225 -500 (for small trees), $500 - $900 (for medium) and $900 - $2,500 (for large ones).

Unless you had extensive damage to your home or need to have the tree cut down, it may not makes sense to file a claim.

Will I Still Receive Coverage if the Tree Hasn't Damaged Anything?

Your homeowners insurance won't reimburse you for the cost of debris removal if the fallen tree fell due to reasons that are not listed as perils in the declaration page of your homeowners insurance policy. Your insurance company may make an exception if the tree causes a hazard, such as blocking a driveway.

Does a Standard Homeowners Policy Cover Damage to My Car from a Fallen Tree?

Unfortunately, your homeowners insurance won't pay if a tree falls and damages your vehicle. You can file a claim with your auto insurance policy if you have comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy. Comprehensive insurance pays to repair damage caused by falling objects.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree and Shrub Replacement?

Tree replacement falls under the category of landscaping. According to the Insurance Information Institute, insurance companies limit coverage for landscaping damage to five percent of the amount of coverage on your structure (. They will cap coverage for any single shrub, plant or tree damaged in a disaster.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Damage to Sewer Lines from Trees?

Every year, tree roots cause damages to home structures, pipes and foundations in homes across the United States. Homeowners policies cover sudden and accidental damage, and slowly growing tree roots don't fit this definition.

As a result, most homeowners policies may not cover damages to pipes and sewer lines caused by tree roots. Additionally, they may not cover the water damage to your property that may occur because of tree root damage.

How To Prevent Trees From Falling

1. Inspect trees after each storm

Search for broken and bent branches on your tree and remove them. If necessary, contact a professional if the branch is inaccessible.

2. Examine loose and large branches

Loose branches can become a hazard. An arborist can reduce the size of a branch by installing cables for support.

3. Monitor Your Tree's Health

Closely examine your trees for any signs of disease, infestations and broken branches. Other indications of poor tree health include leaves falling out of season. Root rot may not be as easy to notice so you may want to periodically have your trees checked by a professional.

Get Adequate Tree Damage Coverage, Save Money

Consider that storms may take down your trees or a neighbor's trees. Knowing that only 5% of your dwelling coverage is allotted to tree removal services, make sure that your homeowners insurance limits are adequate. Also, make sure to maintain your trees because diseased and neglected trees will not be covered by homeowners insurance.

Periodically compare rates for homeowners insurance, too. You could be paying up to 40% more than necessary in premiums. SmartFinancial can help you find the best value for a homeowners insurance policy from one of the top insurers. For a free homeowners insurance quote, answer a few questions after entering you zip code below.

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