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Does home insurance cover tree damage?

Coverage is conditional on several factors — most importantly, how it fell.

Homeowners insurance can cover many types of tree damage and some tree removal, both to your property and your neighbors’. But some restrictions apply.

You should be covered for fallen trees and branches if they’re the result of a peril covered in your policy.

You won’t be covered if a tree falls due to pruning, or for damage caused by tree roots.

How homeowners insurance covers tree damage

The way insurance covers tree damage varies between policies, but generally the following applies:

You’re covered if a tree or branch falls on your property due to a wind storm, lightning or other peril that’s included in your standard homeowners policy.

But you’re not covered for damage that’s considered a maintenance issue, such as not pruning back branches, or damage caused by tree roots.

Exclusions and exceptions

It will vary by policy, but some exceptions generally apply.

  • You won’t be covered for falling trees and branches if the damage was caused by tree lopping or pruning, either by yourself or someone who was doing it with your approval.
  • You won’t be covered if a tree falls due to root rot or was a danger before the event that caused it to fall.
  • You likely won’t be covered if the tree fell from earth movement — earthquake, landslide, sinkhole and the like.
  • You can be covered for tree root damage if it strangled water pipes, resulting in the release of liquid. You might be covered for the damage caused by the escaped liquid, but probably not for the the pipe repairs.

Does homeowners insurance cover damage from a neighbor’s tree?

Typically your homeowners insurance will cover damage to your home regardless of where the tree came from if it’s otherwise eligible. But it may work with your neighbor’s insurance provider to make back some of its losses if the tree was a hazard before it fell.

If your insurer finds that your neighbor is responsible and is able to recoup its payment to you, you may even get your deductible back. Otherwise, nothing will change on your side of the claim — the damage will still be covered as if it had been a tree on your property.

Does homeowners insurance cover tree damage to a car?

If a tree lands on your car, it’s unlikely that a home insurance policy will offer coverage for the loss. Instead, you’ll want to check your car insurance policy. If you have a comprehensive plan, you should be covered against falling trees and debris.

Is tree removal covered by homeowners insurance?

Whether removal is covered depends on where and how the tree fell. A tree that fell on open land without hitting any structures likely isn’t something you can claim unless it fell due to a peril included in your homeowners insurance.

Even then, a hail, ice or wind storm taking down a tree may result in a denied claim if it didn’t hit any structures. Perils, age and rot are almost always excluded, just as they are with claiming damage.

It’s also important to know that there are typically limits on how much a provider will pay to remove trees and other debris — and that you still need to pay the deductible. It may not make sense to file a claim if the deductible is more than the removal cost when no structures were damaged.

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Bottom line

You can likely claim damages to your house caused by falling trees as long as the fall is caused by an event that’s already covered by your homeowners insurance. Check with your insurance provider to fully understand what your specific policy covers.

Frequently asked questions

How am I covered by homeowners insurance if the tree falls as the result of a flood or earthquake?

Floods and earthquakes are two of the most common exclusions for homeowners insurance. However, you may be covered if you have specialized flood or earthquake insurance — but you’ll need to check your specific policy.

Who has to pay if a professional landscaper downs the tree?

A hired professional landscaper may have liability insurance. In the event they cause damage to your property while pruning, check to see if you can file a claim through their business.

Will the insurance company provide a contractor for repairs?

It depends on the provider. You may be offered the services of a contractor who has an existing relationship with the insurer. Discounts and warranties are often offered as incentives for working with these contractors.

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