Insurance agents have their own version of a favorite riddle: will homeowners insurance cover tree damage? If a tree falls on your house, does homeowner insurance pay to remove it? Well, it depends, but we’re going to answer that for you more fully in this article. We’ll also address other questions that are sure to follow: How much does it cover? What if it was your neighbor’s tree?
- Does Insurance Pay For Tree Removal
- How Much Is Covered For Tree Removal
- My Neighbor’s Tree Fell On My House
Does Insurance Pay For Tree Removal?
Yes! Insurance will pay for tree removal if the following conditions are met:
- The tree damages covered property (i.e., your house, outbuilding, shed)
- The Driveway/Means of Egress is blocked by a tree
- The tree damages or blocks a handicap ramp or entrance
How Much Is Covered For Tree Removal?
If any of the above are true, your homeowners insurance will pay to remove the tree, whether or not it’s your tree or your neighbors’. The coverage amount depends on your policy. An HO-3 policy will pay for tree removal up to $1000 with a $500 per tree limit. The HE-7 Home Insurance policy doubles those amounts. (HE7 Form Vs. HO3 Form)
If a tree falls onto your property but does not damage or block structures as listed above, your homeowner insurance will not cover the cost of tree removal.
How Much Damage Is Covered?
If it is your tree that damages your house or covered property, your homeowner’s insurance will also pay for repairs. You will be responsible for your deductible, but then the insurance will cover up to the amount of your policy limit.
My Neighbor’s Tree Fell On My House, Who Is Responsible?
An even larger topic than “will homeowners insurance cover tree damage” is in determining WHOSE insurance will pay!
Now let’s say it’s not your tree that caused damage, but your neighbors’. Whose insurance is going to pay for the damage? While you may think that your neighbor’s insurance is always responsible, that is not the case. In general, two scenarios may occur:
Scenario #1: The tree seemed healthy and fell unexpectedly due to a storm or other event. Or, you may have been concerned that the tree might fall but never notified the neighbor. In this scenario, your homeowners insurance pays for all damages, even though the tree was on your neighbor’s property.
Scenario #2: You saw the tree deteriorating and officially notified the neighbor that their tree could fall. It then fell and damaged your property. In this scenario, your neighbor’s insurance will pay. It will fall under the liability component of their homeowners insurance.
The Neighborly Way to Notify
By ‘notify’ in Scenario #2, we don’t mean mentioning it while chatting in the front yard. You will need written proof. We suggest sending a certified letter. It may be uncomfortable to send, but you’ll be glad you did in the event the tree falls. That way, their insurance pays, and you’re not on the hook for your deductible.
If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, we recommend having a nice conversation with them first. Don’t just slap them with a certified letter. In many cases, your neighbor may be willing to take preventative actions and cut the tree down. Some neighbors even decide to share the costs to protect both their homes.
At the very least, give your neighbors a heads up that they will be receiving a letter in the mail. Feel free to use your insurance agent as the bad guy, saying “the big bad insurance agent made me send it”—we don’t mind; we just want to make sure you’re protected.
At ALLCHOICE, our friendly agents are standing by to answer these questions and more. Contact us today for all your insurance needs.
Yes! Homeowners Insurance will pay for tree removal if certain conditions are met
The Amount Homeowners Insurance will pay for tree removal varies by policy form:
The HO3 Form pays up to $500 for each tree with a $1,000 total limit.
The HE7 Form pays up to $1,000 for each tree with a $2,000 total limit.
Unless you have notified your neighbor, in writing, that you are concerned the tree poses a danger to your property, YOUR homeowners insurance will be responsible.
If you notified your neighbor that you are concerned the tree poses a danger to your property, then most of the time the liability portion of your neighbors homeowners insurance policy will pay