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Home Insurance – Tree Coverage – It’s Complicated

Does Home Insurance Cover Tree Damage?

We often get asked about how a homeowner’s policy covers trees that are damaged or cause damage on a homeowner’s property.  The following generally summarizes coverage on a typical home insurance policy for different scenarios for storm damage (your specific policy and claim may have differences):

  1. If a tree falls and is lying on the ground in someone’s yard but hasn’t hit or blocked anything, removal is not covered.
  2. A tree falls and is lying across a pathway or driveway, but hasn’t hit anything, removal is limited to $500.
  3. A tree falls and strikes an “insignificant” structure (fence, small shed), removal is covered at least in part as debris removal for the damaged item.  Depreciation is taken for the repair or replacement of the damaged item.
  4. A tree falls on and damages a “significant” structure (excluding the house), removal is covered at least in part as debris removal for the damaged item.  Depreciation is NOT taken for the repair or replacement of the damaged item if you have replacement coverage on your policy.
  5. A tree falls on your house, removal is covered at least in part as debris removal for the home’s damage.  Depreciation is NOT taken for the repair or replacement of the damaged item if you have replacement coverage on your policy.

The actual way in which a downed tree is covered depends a lot on how big the tree is versus the item damaged.  A 100 foot tree that crushed a bicycle will not result in 100% debris removal coverage, but will only be covered in part.  A claims adjuster from your insurance company must typically see the damage to make a correct assessment.

A higher end policy will often provide more coverage than this.

2 Comments

  1. Fred from NJ on November 2, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Thank you for the thorough answer! I’ve been confused about what my policy covers for tree damage and this answered all of my questions.

    • esposi on November 4, 2011 at 10:26 am

      Thanks. Note that if your tree falls on your neighbor’s property, they would submit this claim to their own insurance company, and vice-versa if their tree fell onto your property.

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