Even the most basic homeowner’s insurance policy covers wind damage to your home, but what about wind-blown tree damage? What if the offending tree that made a hole in your roof belonged to the next-door neighbor? Who does the insurance cover for this claim? Who pays to clean up the mess? And will your homeowners insurance pay to replace your tree? Lots of good questions. Let’s sort the answers.
Tree damage coverage for homeowners insurance
Your homeowner’s insurance will pay for any damage caused by a fallen tree or tree tip to your home, its contents, and any other covered structure such as a garage or fence up to the boundaries of your policy, not to mention any deductible. This is clear enough.
Homeowners insurance tree damage caused by neighbors
It gets even more blurry when the neighbor’s tree causes damage. If the tree is healthy, most experts recommend filing a claim with your insurance company. However, if it can be shown that the neighbor’s tree was sick, dead, or poorly cared for, your insurance company may try to get it from your neighbor’s insurance company through the subrogation process. If your insurance company is successful, the deductible will be reimbursed. Before you get to this point, talk to your neighbors about any trees that are potentially dangerous to their property. If they ignore your polite advice, send a letter of credit and take some pictures. This will help make the solution process easier in the event that the neighbor tree eventually falls on your home. Keep in mind that shifting is fair play here. You need to take care of the health and well-being of any trees in your garden as your damage claim can be denied, or your insurance company replaced, if negligence can be demonstrated.
Do you need extra coverage for your home insurance tree damage?
What about cleaning? Most policies cover removal of tree debris caused by wind only if the debris has already caused damage to the covered structure. Some policies will remove a tree if it is blocking a driveway. Even if your document covers debris removal, it will likely be specified somewhere in between 500 dollars and 1000 dollars.
Now suppose your tree is the one that fell on your house and you want to replace it. Will your home owners policy pay for a new tree? Mostly not. Standard homeowners insurance usually excludes damage to trees, shrubs, lawns, and other landscapes caused by wind or snow. If you are concerned, you can always purchase additional coverage.