A standard homeowners insurance policy covers the removal and debris cleanup of fallen trees if events like wind or ice storms caused damage to a covered structure, like your home, garage, shed, or fence.
However, if a tree falls on your property without damaging anything, your policy may not cover its removal or cleanup. The average cost of homeowners insurance varies—for $300,000 in dwelling coverage and $100,000 in liability insurance $2,285.
When does home insurance cover tree removal?
What do most standard homeowners insurance policies cover? Policies vary but typically will cover any of the following instances regarding tree removal:
You may be wondering if homeowners insurance covers tree removal after a storm. If a tree is uprooted by wind, hail, a rainstorm, thunderstorm, ice, or snow, and landed on your house or any other fixed structure, like a garage or fence, your insurance will pay for its removal and damage to your structure.
Vandalism, theft, or other threat
Removal of a tree destroyed by fire, an explosion, vandalism, theft, lightening, riots, aircraft, or vehicles that you do not own, but fell on your house or another fixed structure on your property may be covered.
Earthquakes and floods
Trees destroyed during floods and earthquakes will only be covered if you have earthquake and flood insurance. Keep in mind that not all policies with these coverages have a clause that will cover damage and removal of fallen trees.
If your neighbor’s tree falls on your home, garage, fence or other insured structure on your property, your policy might also pay to have the tree removed. However, if your insurer determines the tree was rotted or dead, you may not be covered. But, you may be able to file a liability claim on your neighbor’s insurance.
- Tree or debris removal from some natural disasters, like earthquakes and floods, may not be covered by your standard homeowners insurance policy.
- Most homeowners insurance policies will cover the removal and debris cleanup of a fallen tree caused damage to a covered structure on your property.
- If a tree falls but doesn’t cause any damage to a covered structure, your homeowners policy may not cover the cleanup and removal of the tree or debris.
- If a tree is diseased, rotted or dead and falls on your property, your insurance will likely not pay for its removal or cleanup.
When does homeowners insurance not cover tree removal?
You’re responsible to take care of the trees, plants and bushes in your home and yard. There are times when your homeowners insurance will not cover the cost to remove trees and debris.
You’re probably wondering how uprooted trees can be both covered and not covered by homeowners insurance. If a tree on your property is uprooted by wind, hail, a rainstorm, thunderstorm, ice or snow and landed on your property but did not do any damage to a covered fixed structure, your insurance will not pay for its removal.
Rotted, diseased or dead trees
Does homeowners insurance cover diseased tree removal? Probably not. As a homeowner you are responsible to maintain all foliage on your property. Likewise, if a tree is dead or rotted, your insurance will very likely not pay for its removal.
Earthquakes or floods
If a tree falls due to a flood or earthquake (or mudslides) and you do not have these coverages, you may not be covered for any damages to your property or for the removal of the tree.
If you want a tree removed
If you simply want a tree or trees removed from your property, your insurance will not pay the cost of having them taken down.
On your neighbor’s property
Generally, you are not responsible for paying for a tree on your property that falls naturally due to storm damage and hits your neighbor’s home. If you were cutting down the tree yourself or knew it was rotting or dead, your neighbor’s insurance is responsible for the claim.
How much does insurance pay for tree removal?
Whatever coverage limits—the maximum amount your policy pays out for a covered claim—spelled out in your homeowners policy, dictate how much your insurer will pay for tree damage and removal.
Dwelling coverage pays to repair damage from a covered peril to your home. Other structures’ coverage helps pay to repair other structures—sheds, fences, detached garages—on your property.
For example, let’s say you have $300,000 dwelling coverage on your home. If a tree falls in a windstorm and damages your home, your insurance may pay up to $300,000 to repair or rebuild your home. However, that’s after you pay your deductible, which is your share of a covered claim.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), if a tree damages a structure on your property, your home insurance may cover the cost to remove the tree in addition to the damage caused by the fallen tree. The typical amount paid out for the removal is about $500 to $1,000, depending on your policy.
What if a tree falls on my car?
In most cases, if a tree falls on your car, your homeowners insurance will not cover the damage. However, if you carry comprehensive coverage on your car, your car insurance policy will likely pay to repair the damage, but will not pay to remove the tree.
Are there endorsements for tree removal coverage?
Yes. Some policy endorsements cover tree removal if a fallen tree causes damage to a fixed structure, which should be spelled out in your homeowners insurance policy. Without an endorsement you could end up with too little coverage, especially if you live in an area with a lot of trees.
Depending on your insurer, you may be able to supplement your home insurance with a windstorm endorsement that will cover tree and debris removal. If your insurer does not offer an endorsement for windstorm damage, you might consider purchasing a separate windstorm hazard insurance policy.
Because of the amount of damage from earthquakes, many insurance companies exclude earthquake coverage. However, depending on where you live and your insurance company, you may be able to add an earthquake endorsement to your policy, which will cover tree removal if the fallen tree caused damage to a covered structure.
Standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover floods. However, if you live in a flood zone, your insurer may offer flood insurance endorsements, typically through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). However, most of these endorsements have strict coverage limits that are much lower than standard homeowners insurance.
Extended replacement cost endorsement
If repairs to your home from a fallen tree exceed your policy limits, an extended replacement cost endorsement might help. This comes in handy after a natural disaster when the demand for supplies and labor drives up cost. Some insurers will extend your replacement coverage by as much as 50% – but that can vary.
Blocked access endorsement
Sometimes home insurance will pay for removing a tree if it falls and blocks your driveway. Or, if you’re disabled, and a tree blocks a wheelchair ramp. In this case, your standard homeowners insurance won’t cover tree and debris removal, unless you have an endorsement specifying that coverage.
Tree and debris removal endorsement
You can purchase an endorsement that extends coverage to the removal of the downed tree and debris on your property, and also tree replacement costs for downed trees. But don’t count on getting reimbursed for the value of a fallen tree if you want to replace it.
Some insurance companies don’t cover trees because they believe it’s too difficult to put a cost on landscaping. Other policies cover damage to landscaping but limit coverage to a percentage of the dwelling protection.