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How Home Insurance Protects You From Tree Damage
Article 4 of 9 in Home Insurance and Disasters
Frequently, the home damage from a bad storm is not from the storm itself, but from the trees that are taken down by high winds and prolonged rains that weaken root systems. Under most home insurance policies, tree damage insurance--the loss of the tree, the damage caused as a result of the fallen tree and the cost of removal of the tree-is included. However, there are limits to the tree damage your home insurance policy will pay for.
TIP: Tree damage is not uncommon, and sometimes not avoidable. Get the best tree damage insurance that you can to protect your home and your possessions.
Homeowners Insurance and Tree Removal
After a major storm, the most asked question an agent gets is: "Does homeowners insurance cover tree removal?" The answer is yes, but only up to a certain limit. Most policies cover tree or large shrub removal from anywhere up to $200 to $500. This limit per shrub or tree may also be limited to specific causes of loss. Your homeowners policy may word it this way:
Trees, Plants Shrubs or Lawns-We pay for direct physical loss to trees, plants, shrubs or lawns on the insured premises caused by:
- Fire or lightening, explosion, riot or civil commotions, aircraft;
- vehicles if not owned or operated by an occupant of the insured premises or
- vandalism or theft
You may apply up to 5% of the Coverage limit to cover trees, plants, shrubs or lawns. We do not pay more than $500 for each tree, plant or shrub. This includes the cost to remove the debris of the covered item.
There are home insurance riders that you can request that will not only increase your tree removal limit, but also the amount that the policy will pay per tree or shrub. If you have large trees or extensive shrubbery around your house, consider the purchase of a rider to extend coverage for these additional exposures.
Tree Damage Insurance for Neighboring Property
If by some unfortunate occurrence during a storm a tree falls and hits your neighbor's garage causing damage, your homeowners insurance policy would not pay for his or her damage. Most home insurance policies will provide insurance for covered property-meaning your insurance will pay for your property and your neighbor's insurance will pay for his' or hers.
If it can be proven that the tree damage was a result of a rotten tree and therefore was downed by a covered cause of loss, there could be some liability on you as a homeowner. In this case, your neighbor's home insurance policy would still pay for any damage to his or her property by the tree and then collect any money from you if you are responsible. Make sure you maintain all trees, removing any diseased or damaged trees on your property.
Tree Damage and Making A Claim
If you have suffered tree damage and need to make a home insurance claim, call your insurance company or agent and determine your amount of coverage. Make sure you take all precautions to prevent further damage to your home such as:
- Using covering such as a tarp over gaping holes, protecting the interior from inclement weather.
- Cutting off electrical current or any water to any areas where the service may cause danger or more damage.
- Cording off or taping off any dangerous areas to prevent injury to curious people.
This is not an option. Your homeowners insurance policy requires that you prevent any further damage. Not doing this could cause further damage, which will likely not be covered by your insurance company. Make sure you keep track of your expenses for any temporary repairs, and submit these to the insurance company as a part of your claim.
When you purchase a home insurance policy, make sure you are adequately protected from any tree damage. Consider your surrounding property, and add any coverage as necessary. Shop multiple quotes to get the best policy. Click here to get started with a free online home insurance quote today!