Ask Hippo: Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Fallen Trees?

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Depending on the situation, standard homeowners insurance policies may cover damage caused by fallen trees. Before you file a claim, it’s best to look over your policy. To get a basic idea of what’s covered and what not when it comes to fallen trees, check out our guide made with the help of Mike Gulla, Hippo’s director of underwriting.

When does homeowners insurance cover fallen trees?

If a tree falls down, a typical homeowners insurance policy can cover damage to the structure of a home and the contents within it. If the tree falls as a result of heavy winds, a hurricane, lightning, a fire, vandalism or hail,… Click To Tweet

If a tree falls down, a typical homeowners insurance policy can cover damage to the structure of a home and the contents within it. If the tree falls as a result of heavy winds, a hurricane, lightning, a fire, vandalism or hail, your insurance provider likely won’t ask any questions. Homeowners insurance also covers tree removal if an insured structure was hit. Policies often limit how much coverage is provided for removing a tree. Typically, the amount falls between $500 and $1,000. This coverage extends to plants, shrubs and branches too, which can become projectiles during a storm.

When aren’t fallen trees covered?

If a tree falls as a result of an uncovered peril — like an earthquake or flood — your standard homeowners insurance policy may not foot the bill. The same rule applies to aging or rotting trees and any preventable events. If the fallen tree doesn’t cause any damage, you’re also on your own. That may be the case if a tree falls but doesn’t hit a structure and lands in your yard. In some cases, a provider might pay to remove a fallen tree that hasn’t damaged any property if it’s blocking a driveway, handicap entrance or another vital access point.

Does it matter where the tree fell from?

If a tree falls, your insurer won’t be concerned about its original location. It doesn’t matter if the tree was on your property or in your neighbor’s yard. Where it ended up is all that matters. It’s up to the homeowner whose property was damaged to file a claim with their insurance provider. According to the Insurance Information Institute, your insurance company may try to collect funds from your neighbor’s insurance company in a process called subrogation. If everything works out, you might get a refund for the money you spent on your deductible.

How to prevent falling trees

Damage caused by fallen trees may be covered. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do what you can to prevent damage from occurring in the first place. Every once in a while, take a closer look at what’s in your yard. Take note of older or unhealthy trees that are hunched over and any any with exposed roots or split trunks. They’re more likely to weaken over time and fall down if a storm hits. Consider hiring a removal service or trimming the tree and removing it yourself. Your insurance provider may challenge a claim if you are not exercising reasonable caution or performing proper maintenance.  

Final word

Insurance providers often cover damage caused by fallen trees. You should read over your homeowners insurance policy and think about changes you can make to keep your property safe. Take photos if you can and keep track of any receipts for items you purchase. They will come in handy when you’re ready to file your next insurance claim.

Still have questions about homeowners insurance and fallen trees? Contact a Hippo specialist. We’re here to help!

 

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