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Is Tree Removal Covered in Home Insurance?

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Removal? 

Homeowners insurance will likely cover tree removals if a tree falls due to a covered peril and damages personal property. 

If a tree falls due to a covered peril, such as wind, hail, or a snow buildup, and it lands on your insured property, home insurance will most likely pay to remove the tree and repair the building structure. However, if the tree falls without damaging anything, most homeowners insurance companies will not cover its removal, though some may cover it if the fallen tree is blocking a driveway or a ramp. 

Because repairs are often expensive and can cost upwards of thousands of dollars, it’s important to understand whether your insurance will help shoulder the cost of removal and property damage.

The Importance of Routine Tree Maintenance 

While trees may seem like tranquil beings, they can cause expensive and serious damage if you do not care for them. Most healthy trees can weather high winds and heavy storms, but if they lack professional pruning or have a compromised root system, they can topple and wreck your home, car, and other personal belongings. 

Depending on the size of the tree, the cost of tree removal can range from $200 to $2,000. And if the fallen tree damages your vehicle or property, you could be digging even deeper into your pockets. 

How Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Removal? 

Homeowners insurance generally only provides coverage for damages caused by covered perils. Covered perils vary by policy type and insurance company, but they typically include:

  • Lightning strikes
  • Fire
  • Wind
  • Hail damage

So, if a strong gust of wind topples a tree and damages your home, your homeowners insurance policy will most likely cover tree removal since the tree fall was caused by a covered peril. When you file a claim for the damage, you’ll receive the covered amount listed in your policy minus your deductible cost. 

Common Types of Tree Damage

A tree falling onto your property, vehicle, or other personal belongings can cause serious destruction. Here are some of the common types of tree damage:

  • Service line damage: Underground service lines transport water, heating, internet, and more to and from your house. A tree’s roots can crack into these service lines and cause damage. 
  • Blocked driveway: A fallen tree can block your driveway, preventing you from entering or leaving your home.
  • Interior water damageIf a tree falls and puts a hole in your roof, water can seep into your home when it rains, causing water damage that could be costly to fix.
  • Roof damage: A fallen tree limb alone can produce enough force to damage your roof. If a whole tree falls on your roof, your entire roof could be destroyed. 
  • Siding damage: Besides your roof, a fallen tree can also create holes or dents in your siding.
  • Car damage: Cars are often more fragile than your home. If a tree collapses onto your vehicle, it may require an extensive amount of repair.  

Types of Tree Removal Situations Your Homeowners Insurance Covers

Most homeowners insurance policies will pay for the removal of a tree if it falls directly onto your insured property, including the garage or shed, or is blocking your driveway. However, the cause of the tree fall can also determine whether the insurance company will cover the removal cost. 

Removal may be covered if a tree falls on your property, garage, shed, or driveway under the following scenarios:

  • Windstorm
  • Wildfire 
  • Vandalism or a car crash 
  • Under the weight of ice or snow
  • Lightning 
  • Other covered perils 

Remember that every homeowners insurance plan is different, so talk to your agent or read the fine print of your specific policy for details.

What if Your Neighbor’s Tree Damages Your Property? 

If a tree lands on your home and causes structural damage, you can file a claim with your insurance company, regardless of who owns the tree. However, the insurer might not admit the claim if the tree fell due to your neighbor’s negligence and not a covered peril. If that’s the case, your neighbor may have to foot the bill for repairing your damaged property.

What’s Not Covered

Your insurer could deny coverage for tree removal if the tree topples in the following situations:

  • The tree is dead, rotten, or poorly maintained
  • The tree does not fall on your property or block the driveway
  • The tree fell during a flood
  • The tree fell during an earthquake 

Keep in mind, though, that coverage exclusions could vary, so check with your insurance policy for more details. 

Tree Damage on Your Neighbor’s Property 

In most cases, if your tree damages your neighbor’s property due to a covered peril, such as a snowstorm or heavy wind, your neighbor can file a claim with their homeowners insurance company to be reimbursed for their losses. 

On the other hand, if the tree fell because of your negligence, you are legally liable and may have to pay your neighbors for the damages out of pocket. However, it’s worth checking with your insurance agent as some insurers may cover claims regardless of whether the tree fall was due to your negligence. 

How Much Will My Insurance Pay for Tree Removal? 

If a tree hits your insured property, your homeowners insurance policy will typically cover the tree removal cost, generally anywhere from $500 to $1,000. However, this amount could vary depending on the insurer and policy type, so check with your homeowners insurance company for more information. 

On the other hand, if a fallen tree causes no structural damage to your home, your homeowners insurance will usually not cover tree debris removal. 

How to Submit a Claim for Tree Removal 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on submitting a tree removal claim. 

  1. Assess the damage. First, take pictures of the fallen tree and assess the damage it has caused to your property or personal belongings. 
  2. Review your insurance policy. Check your policy details to see if your specific situation is covered under your homeowners insurance plan. 
  3. Contact your insurance company. Next, contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to begin the claims process. 
  4. Schedule an assessment. Your insurance agent will most likely send an adjuster to investigate the loss and assess the damages to your property. 
  5. Obtain repair estimates. Call a trusted contractor to give you an on-site estimate so you know how much the repair will cost. Your insurer may also provide you with a list of contractors to contact. 
  6. Complete necessary paperwork. Complete the necessary paperwork to submit a claim. Reporting requirements could vary depending on the insurance company and your situation, but your insurance agent should tell you what to do. 
  7. Cooperate with the claims process. If your homeowners insurance company asks you to provide more details about your claim after you’ve submitted it, be sure to respond promptly to avoid any delays. 
  8. Follow up on the claim. Your insurance company should let you know how long the claims process takes. However, if it’s taking longer than usual, checking in with them may help your claim move along faster.  

Tips For Preventing Fallen Tree Damage 

Fallen tree damage can put a dent in your wallet. If you have concerns about the health of your trees, do not wait to seek help from professionals. Here are a few ways to prevent your trees from endangering your property. 

  • Regular tree maintenance: Dead branches can often attract pests and spread diseases to other parts of the tree. To keep your tree healthy and thriving, perform regular tree maintenance, like pruning and trimming. 
  • Conduct a risk assessment: If you’re worried about your tree falling and damaging your property, consider hiring a qualified arborist to perform a risk assessment where they’ll assess the soil conditions and the overall health of the tree. 
  • Reinforce weak trees: If you suspect a tree on your property is weak or damaged, a certified arborist could reinforce and stabilize it using cables and brackets. Dead trees lose structural integrity as they continuously decay, so be sure to reinforce them before eventual removal. 
  • Maintain healthy trees: Besides pruning and trimming your tree, keep it healthy by monitoring it for pests and diseases, protecting the trunk, watering it, and regularly working with a certified arborist. 
  • Install lightning protection: Lightning strikes can seriously damage and even kill a tree. To protect your tree from lightning, consider installing a lightning protection system on your tree’s branches and trunk to intercept the lightning current and direct it toward an alternative path. 

All in All 

Trees can add a decorative touch to your backyard or property, but they can also pose a potential hazard if not properly taken care of. 

Unfortunately, accidents can still happen even if you schedule regular inspections with a certified arborist and take all the precautionary measures. That’s why it’s important to know what scenarios are covered by your homeowners insurance should a tree fall onto your property and how to file a claim for the damages. 

Contact your homeowners insurance agent if you’re unsure whether your current coverage is adequate or have any questions about your policy details. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Most homeowners insurance policies cover tree removal and repairs for damage after a tree falls, but they typically would not cover the removal of a standing tree. This holds true even if the tree poses a threat or is damaged. 

However, it’s worth checking with your insurance company to better understand your policy.

In most cases, if your tree falls on a road, the city or the local government is liable for removing it since it’s within their boundaries, and they’re responsible for maintaining public sidewalks and roads. 

An arborist report is a legally binding document written by a qualified arborist that states the condition of trees on a property and how they impact the specific property. 

Some homeowners insurance companies may require an arborist report during the claims process to determine the liability and assess the extent of the damage.