Trees, Your Roof, and What to Do if a Tree Falls

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Posted
April 7, 2021

If a tree falls on my property, will my insurance cover it?

Standard homeowner’s insurance usually covers fallen trees that damage your home and other structures, such as garden sheds, fences, or garages; but coverage depends on what caused the tree to fall.  

If the fallen tree was caused by weather, fire, explosions, or vandalism, a standard home insurance policy will cover it. These are called covered perils and are included in a standard homeowner’s policy.  

Covered perils do not cover all of Mother Nature’s surprises, however. Events such as earthquakes and floods are not covered perils on a standard policy and must be added by endorsement. Depending on where you live, you may even need to purchase separate policies to cover earthquake and flood. If you live in a region designated as high risk, you may need to contact your insurance agent to discuss your options.

A fallen tree caused by excessive rot or a lack maintenance may not be covered by insurance; insurance companies can hold you responsible for fallen trees that could have been avoided using preventative measures. Trimming dead branches from healthy trees or removing dead trees from your property will help prevent a claims dispute with your insurer.

Does your insurance company cover the cost of removing fallen trees and shrubs?

This depends on whether your property was damaged or if a vital roadway becomes blocked.

If a tree falls and lands on your home or other structures on your covered property, the cost to repair the structure is covered, and most policies cover $500 per fallen tree and a maximum of $1,000 per occurrence of tree debris removal.

If the tree falls and does not damage any property, not all insurance policies will not cover the cost of removal and you may be responsible for covering the costs.  

What if the fallen tree came from your neighbor’s property?

You can file a claim with your insurance company no matter where the fallen tree or tree branches came from. Provided you have windstorm, hurricane, and fallen object coverage (which are included on most standard insurance policies) projectile shrubs or branches will be covered in the event of extreme winds.  

If the fallen tree is a result of your neighbors’ negligence, your insurance company may attempt to collect funds from your neighbor through a process called subrogation.  

One final caveat about large trees on your property concerns the roots...

Depending on how old and large a tree is, it may have deep roots that cross property lines and cause damage under your structures. Because damage caused by growing roots is a slow-moving hazard instead of a sudden peril, most insurance companies will not cover the damages.  

In most cases, your insurance company will have you covered if a fallen tree or branches damage your property. Removal of the fallen tree, however, comes with strict limitations on how much your insurer will pay. If you are unsure of what your insurance covers, reach out to your insurance agent for more details.

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