Arriving at your home to find a tree lying on the roof of the house can certainly be a disappointment. However, your home insurance quotes usually take the potential for this occurrence into consideration. With that said, you do have to live up to a few responsibilities. So, does homeowners insurance cover damage from a fallen tree? The answer is: yes; just so long as you meet certain conditions.
Ownership Matters — Sort Of
Ownership of the tree will come into question if it's yours and you didn't maintain it properly. Most homeowners policies require you to keep your trees properly pruned to qualify for coverage. If, for example, the tree was felled by a winter storm and hadn't been cut back, your insurer might question the claim. After all, heavy winter precipitation is known for compromising trees. For this reason, most policies require you to trim your trees before winter. This is required so that the accumulating snowfall won't weigh down the branches and cause them to snap.
If your neighbor's tree falls on your home, your insurance company will usually try to work out a settlement with their company. This is known in the industry as subrogation. Your deductible will be waived (or refunded) if this is accomplished successfully. In addition to your home, sheds and garages are considered covered structures too, if they're listed on the policy.
Storm Damage Coverage Is Universal
Insurers generally don't ask where the tree came from in the case of destructive meteorological events like hurricanes, tornadoes, or severe windstorms. This means they won't go after your neighbors' insurers in the wake of such a tragedy. It's too difficult to determine the origin of a tree in such events. They just impose your deductible and cover the rest.
Tree Removal Is Covered
Your policy will also cover the cost of removing the offending tree, up to a certain dollar amount, in most instances. The exact amount varies from policy to policy. However, if a tree falls on your property and does no damage, you'll be on your own. Well, that is, unless it blocks a driveway or restricts handicapped access. Your company will pay to remove it under those circumstances.
Damaged Trees and Decorative Shrubs Are Covered Too
Trees and shrubberies add value to your home and can be quite expensive to replace. For this reason, many insurance policies consider them part of your property and will provide coverage if they're damaged—under certain conditions. These include fire, lightning, explosion, theft, aircraft, vehicles not owned by you (or your immediate household), vandalism, and malicious mischief. However, this is only good up to a certain dollar amount, which varies by insurer. Water and wind damage are typically excluded.
So, long story short; yes, your homeowners insurance covers damage from a fallen tree—in most cases. If your policy is based on accurate home insurance quotes, finding it will be a disappointment—but not a tragedy. At most, you'll probably be required to pay your deductible, but you'll be protected. CoverHound can help you find the best coverage for your home quickly and at no cost. Try it today.