Will Home Insurance Cover Tree Removal?
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Standard homeowners insurance may cover the cost of tree removal and cleanup depending on how and where the tree fell. Tree removal coverage will only apply if a covered peril, like fire or lightning caused your tree to fall. However, if the tree fell due to windstorms, hail, rain or ice, it must also hit an insured structure, like your home or a backyard shed, for your insurer to cover tree removal costs.
What Are Common Types of Tree Damage to Your Property?
An entire tree falling or a branch blowing off can cause significant damage to your roof, standalone sheds, cars sitting in your driveway and more.
Tree branches that hang over your property and house can fall during a windstorm, damaging your roof and other personal property. The potential losses can increase if the entire tree falls over and onto your roof.
Loose tree branches can damage your home’s siding, which can expose underlying materials and lead to wood rot. Even small holes and cracks can compromise your home’s structural integrity over time.
Backyard Sheds and Fences
If your storage shed shares the backyard with a tree, it can suffer heavy damages if the tree falls on it. Your backyard fence may be at risk, too. If your tree is located in your front yard, it may fall on a fence or a detached garage.
If a tree limb or an entire tree has fallen onto or against your house during a storm, it may damage your plumbing pipes and flood your home. This can lead to significant water damage and mold issues if it is not handled quickly.
If a tree falls in your driveway, it can block access to your car parked in the garage. A fallen tree and tree branches can also create tripping hazards, which may trigger a liability claim if anybody is injured. Additionally, the impact of a tree could damage cars parked in your driveway or crack the concrete.
Depending on how it falls, a tree can cause significant damage to your car if it is parked in your driveway or on a public road. Homeowners insurance does not cover damages to your car, but comprehensive insurance in an auto policy should. Comprehensive insurance is optional coverage unless you are financing or leasing your car.
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When Is Tree Removal Covered by Insurance?
Your homeowners insurance company may cover tree removal costs if the cause of the tree’s falling was a peril covered in your home insurance policy. Below, we’ve listed 11 types of perils covered in a standard policy that could cause your tree to fall.
Depending on the peril, the insurance company may only cover tree removal costs if the tree hit an insured structure. Specifically, if a tree fell due to a windstorm, hail, ice or snow and fell in an empty space without damaging an insured structure, tree removal costs may not be covered. Talk to your insurance agent to learn more about how your specific coverage works with fallen trees.
When Will Homeowners Insurance Not Cover Tree Removal?
Tree removal is generally not covered by a standard home policy if the tree fell due to by poor maintenance, an excluded peril, if it hits commercial rental property or if you just want it removed for personal reasons.
You Just Want the Tree Removed
If you decide you want to remove a tree because you don’t like how it looks, where it’s located or because it is dying, you will have to pay for its removal out of your own pocket. Home insurance won’t cover preventative care or any repair or replacement costs outside of covered events.
If the Tree Falls on a Rented Guest House
Guest homes are typically covered by the “other structures” section of your homeowners insurance policy — unless you're renting it out. If, for example, you have been renting your guest house on Airbnb for supplemental income, you won’t be able to file a claim for tree removal under your home insurance policy.
Instead, you’d need to purchase home-sharing coverage for short-term rentals. If you rent your guest house long-term, you would need a separate landlord insurance policy to protect yourself.
Rot, Old Age and Infestation
Trees may fall due to fungal growth, wood rot or simply old age — all of which are not covered by homeowners insurance. Additionally, if your tree is infected by termites or other pests, you will have to pay for removal yourself.
Flooding or Earthquakes
A standard home insurance policy will not cover losses caused by floods, earthquakes or mudslides. If your tree falls because of one of these natural disasters, you will be responsible for covering the tree removal costs. This coverage may be available if you buy a standalone flood or earthquake policy.
Wind, Hail, Rain and Ice (Nothing Was Damaged)
If a tree falls because of wind, hail, or the weight of snow or ice, insurance will only cover the removal if it lands on a covered structure on your property or blocks your driveway. If a storm knocks your tree over and it falls in your yard or garden without damaging anything, you will not be covered for tree removal services.
Tree Removal Coverage Scenarios
Below, we’ve provided several examples of when your insurance company would cover tree removal and when it would be denied.
Cause of Tree Falling
Location of Fallen Tree
Will Insurance Cover Tree Removal Costs?
Hail, wind, snow or ice
In the yard or empty space and no damage occurred
Hail, wind, snow or ice
On the garage, house or fence
Lightning or fire
On the garage, house, fence or yard
Flood, age, wood rot, earthquake
On the garage, house, yard or empty space
Am I Covered if My Tree Damages a Neighbor’s House?
If your tree falls and damages your neighbor’s house, then their homeowners insurance policy should cover their losses if the tree fell due to a covered peril in their policy. The only exception is if you can be held liable for the damages.
For example, you may be held responsible for the damages if you know that your tree was rotting but failed to remove the tree. Your neighbor may sue you and demand that you cover the losses they suffered, including tree removal costs. In this case, the liability portion of your home insurance policy should cover any damages your tree caused to your neighbor plus legal expenses. Your insurance rate, however, will increase.
How Much Is Covered by Insurance for Tree Removal?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, your homeowners insurance company will typically cover about $500 to $1,000 of your tree removal costs if they accept the claim. According to HomeAdvisor, most homeowners pay $750 per tree removal but the cost will vary based on the tree’s size, condition and accessibility.
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