Will Your Homeowner's Insurance Pay For Tree Damage?

Posted on: 6 August 2019

Your homeowner's insurance coverage can pay for tree damages to your property; it depends on the exact circumstances of the damage. Below are the three major issues that determine whether your insurance carrier settles your tree damage claim.

Cause of Damage

The home insurance carrier will want to know what caused the tree to fall in the first place. Home insurance companies only compensate for accidental damage, and accidental damages are usually sudden. Maintenance issues, on the other hand, are in the hands of the homeowner. Maintenance issues are generally gradual.

For example, if a freak storm uproots a nearby tree and slams it on your roof, then your home insurance carrier is likely to compensate you for the roof repair or replacement. In this case, the damage is clearly accidental. However, don't expect compensation if you let a huge tree grow too close to your house, and its root eventually damages your house's foundation. In this case, the damage is gradual (a maintenance issue) for which insurers don't compensate.

Type of Policy

Another thing that matters is the type of policy you have. For example, you should expect compensation if you have an all-risk policy that doesn't exclude tree damage of any kind. An all-risk policy is a home insurance policy that covers a broad range of damages except the ones specifically excluded in the policy. If you have a named-risk policy, then you may only get compensation if tree damage is specifically listed in your policy as cored.

This distinction is even more important if the tree damage is connected to a risk that home insurance policy doesn't usually cover. For example, hurricane damage is sometimes excluded from standard home insurance so you may be out of luck if you don't have an all-risks policy and hurricane causes tree damage to your house.

Owner of Tree

Homeowner's insurance usually doesn't bother with the owner of a tree when processing a tree-damage claim. If the tree belongs to the neighbor, your insurance carrier compensates you and then recovers its money from the neighbor's insurance company.

However, there is a special case in which the owner of a tree may determine whether the insurance carrier settles the claim or not. If the tree damage is considered a maintenance issue, then your insurance company will only compensate you if you don't own the tree.

Say your neighbor is careless and they have refused to trim their dead trees whose branches are hanging over your roof despite your repeated warnings. If one of the branches damages your roof, your home insurance carrier may compensate you and recover the money from your neighbor. However, you won't get any compensation if you are the careless person and you let such a tree fall on your house.

For more information, contact homeowner's insurance companies in your area.