Will My Insurance Pay To Have a Dangerous Tree Removed?Posted on Jun 29, 2016
Tree are quite common around houses and in communities throughout the U.S. Occasionally time, disease, and the elements take a toll on trees, turning them into dangers to your own property or the property of others.
Does Insurance Pay for the Removal of Standing Trees?
Most home insurance policies specifically exclude trees that are still standing – even after they become a danger. You, as a homeowner, are responsible for maintaining your home and grounds. This means that it is up to you to prune or remove trees that are a danger to your own property or to the property of others.
Additionally, if you know the tree is a risk, and you fail to remove it and it falls onto a neighbor’s home or property, you could be found personally liable for the damage the tree causes and the removal of the tree.
If a tree in this situation falls on your own home or property, your insurance may refuse to cover the costs of repairs and removal as well.
Does Insurance Pay to Remove Fallen Trees?
Once again this is murky area. If a storm blows through and a tree falls over on your lawn without damaging your home, car, or any other covered structures, it is unlikely that your insurance will cover the costs of removing the tree.
There are exceptions. For instance, some policies will cover some of the costs of removal if the tree blocks the driveway into your home. Other companies will cover some of the costs if you are handicapped and the fallen tree has blocked wheelchair ramps into your home. You will need to check your policy for coverage specifics on this matter.
If the tree does fall on your home, most insurance companies will cover the costs of tree removal up to a specific amount per storm. This means if you have two trees that have fallen on your home during a storm, you will be required to pay for any costs above the coverage amount.
What if Your Tree Falls on Your Neighbor’s Home?
If an otherwise healthy tree falls onto your neighbor’s home because there was too much water and wind or a hurricane blew it over, then your neighbor’s insurance should cover the costs of repairs and removal of the tree.
What about the Value of the Tree?
Some people invest a great deal of money into the landscape of their homes. Others find the value of a mature tree to be worth its weight in gold for energy savings, shade, and enhanced enjoyment of outdoor living. You might be wondering if your insurance will reimburse you for the replacement of the tree.
In most cases, the answer is no. Some policies do offer standard landscaping coverage for up to five percent of the value of the home. For the most part, though, it will be up to you to replace the tree that was lost.
What Should You do if Your Tree Falls and Damages Property?
Whether your tree falls onto your own property or damages the property of a neighbor – or even a city street, your first step is to photograph the evidence and call your insurance company. Explain the situation to determine whether or not your policy covers the event and who you should contact next.
If it’s at all possible you should leave the tree in place – at least until you talk to a representative of your insurance company. This will preserve the evidence. Never have the tree removed without first obtaining the OK from your insurance company (unless it presents a clear danger to someone).
Knowing the facts about trees can help you make informed decisions about your insurance purchases. Keep these things in mind and make sure your trees are in great shape before the storm arrives to avoid potential disasters.