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Wind Storms, Trees and Home Insurance

By July 28, 2010 February 26th, 2019 No Comments

Picture via LancasterOnline (Dan Marschka/Staff)

According to LancasterOnline, this most recent Lancaster, PA storm had winds up to 70 mph and may have caused nearly $2 million in damage. Much of the damage was caused by fallen trees and many people are filing home insurance claims to pay for the damage and clean up. However, a standard home insurance policy does have coverage limitations for damage caused by trees and for trees themselves. Make sure to understand these coverages and limitations before submitting a home insurance claim to avoid any surprises.

My neighbor’s tree fell on my house, whose insurance pays?

Generally, who owns the fallen tree is not the determining factor of whose insurance will respond. The person who submits the claim is actually the person who owns the home that was damaged by the fallen tree. So if your home or other covered property is damaged by anyone else’s tree, your home insurance policy will respond. Likewise, if your tree falls on anyone else’s home or other covered property, their home insurance will respond.

The only time a home insurance policy should be involved with damage to someone else’s property is if the tree owner was liable. This includes a homeowner neglecting a rotten or leaning tree that should have been removed or trimmed prior to the damage occurring.

Will my home insurance replace my damaged landscaping and trees?

Trees, shrubs and other plants (including lawns) are covered on a standard home insurance policy but only for losses due to fire, lightning, explosion, riot, non owned vehicles, vandalism and theft. On the surface, this sounds pretty good, but did you notice that wind or ice are not included. So if your 100 year oak tree fell over due to wind storm, the insurance company will not pay to replace it.

Will insurance pay to remove my tree?

The cost to remove a tree is only covered if the tree damaged a covered structure on the insurance policy, if it blocks a driveway or if it prohibits access to the home. However, most home insurance policies have $500 or $1000 limitation to remove trees if a loss is caused by wind, hail, weight of ice, snow or sleet.

If a tree falls into your yard and does not cause any damage or restrict access, there is generally no coverage to remove the tree. Tree removal coverage varies based on the insurance company and it is best to ask your agent what your specific coverage limits are for tree removal before submitting a claim.

If you have any other tree related home insurance questions, let us know by leaving a comment below.