Home insurance and fallen treesFalling trees are among the common hazards you could face as a homeowner during snow and ice storms, but the ins and outs of insurance coverage depend on the situation.

Generally, standard home insurance doesn't pay for damage to trees, shrubs and other plants from a storm, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). But it does cover damage a falling tree causes to structures that are covered under the insurance policy.

Here's how coverage would work under the following scenarios:

  • A tree in your neighbor's yard fell over and broke a window in your house. File a claim under your home insurance policy. It should cover the damage and the cost to remove the tree.

  • A tree in your own yard fell on your detached garage and damaged the roof. Standard home insurance covers detached structures. The damage and removal of the tree would be covered under your policy.

  • A tree on your property fell on your neighbor's house and caused damage. Your neighbor should file a claim under his or her insurance policy.

  • A large branch fell on your roof but caused no damage. Generally, home insurance would not provide coverage for the tree or the cost to remove it.

  • Your car was damaged when a tree fell onto your driveway. Comprehensive car insurance would provide coverage. Unlike liability insurance, which pays for damage you do to others when you cause a car accident, comprehensive coverage is optional. It pays for damage to your own vehicle from causes other than car accidents, such as vandalism, natural disasters, collisions with animals and theft.
PCI says if your home sustained damage from a falling tree, report it to your insurance agent as soon as possible to settle the claim quickly and accurately. Always keeping safety in mind, do what you can to protect your property from further damage or theft by making emergency repairs to cover openings, and keep receipts for anything you buy. Submit those to your insurance company when you make the claim. In addition, take photos of the damaged property as part of a complete inventory, and don't throw anything away before checking with your insurance company, PCI advises.