Home insurance typically covers damage to fences, but there are instances when an insurer may reject your claim.
With the wild weather over the past couple of years, it’s safe to say more than a few fences have taken a hit from Mother Nature.
Maybe a tree falls on a fence during a hurricane or just a bad rainstorm. Flying debris during a tornado may land on the fence.
The question at hand is: Does homeowners insurance cover fences?
Depending on how it happened, chances are your fence will be covered by your homeowners insurance.
- Insurance companies generally approve claims for fence damages connected to a covered peril.
- One reason why an insurer may decline a home insurance claim is if the fence wasn’t properly maintained.
- The ceiling amount for outdoor structures coverage runs around 10% of your total policy.
- Normal wear and tear isn’t usually covered by home insurance.
What component of a homeowners insurance policy covers fences?
Fences are covered under the Other Structures part of a home insurance policy.
“Other structures on your property are typically covered for the same perils as your home. So if your dwelling coverage includes risks like theft, fire, falling objects and vandalism, your fence would likely be covered for those, too,” according to Allstate.
Other Structures coverage limit is typically a percentage of the total insurance policy.
Most policies also cover detached structure s– generally for about 10% of the dwelling insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Consider your dwelling coverage was $500,000. That would apply to your house and other structures. With the 10% guideline, that would mean you have $50,000 in other structures coverage to put toward fences, gazebos, detached garages or sheds, among other items.
What’s considered Other Structures?
Fences are just one of the items covered by Other Structures. Others include:
- Detached garage
- In-ground swimming pool
What type of fence damages are covered by homeowners insurance?
Fence repair should be covered as long as your homeowners policy covers that peril or cause of the loss.
Covered perils include:
- Falling trees
- Weather-related (as long as you maintained the proper upkeep of your property before the peril)
- Car collision
Depending on the damage, you’ll also receive coverage for debris removal.
When should you file a fence damage claim and when shouldn’t you file a claim
It’s natural behavior to immediately wonder if you can file for damages to your property when it happens. Filing an insurance claim, however, isn’t always the best route to go.
Here’s how to figure out whether to file a homeowners insurance claim or not:
Will your insurance company cover damage?
Go over the list we printed above and find out if your incident is within the covered peril instances.
Filing a home insurance claim worth it?
Fences are expensive, but is this damage so extensive that you couldn’t afford to pay out-of-pocket? Every homeowners claim means your premiums will likely increase, so make sure filing a claim is worth it.
What’s your deductible?
Would it cost you more to pay the deductible and the long-term premium increase than it would to just fix the repairs out of your own pocket? Compare your deductible and potential premium increase with the cost of repairing the damage yourself.
That said, if someone else caused the damage or if it is a major repair, such as a neighbor’s tree falls on yoru fence, you’ll likely want to file the claim.
How do you file a fence damage claim?
As is the case with any insurance claim you file, you need to get every detail correct so that you can present a full picture and get the full extent of what you are owed.
- Find your policy — First things first: go to your filing cabinet and dig out your policy. You want to refer to that to refresh your memory about your insurance coverage.
- Call your agent — Alert your insurance agent or insurance company. They’re going to be your best asset throughout this process. They will walk you through every step of the way and should be able to answer any questions you have.
- Document, document, document — The first thing they will tell you to do is get photos. It’s not that the insurance company won’t believe you, but you want to have pictures of your property as soon as the damage happens — or as soon as it’s safe to do so. They will want to see the damages up close, as well as in the context of your yard. Take photos and videos of every angle and everything involved. This may mean taking photos and videos of the fence as well as whatever caused its damage. Was it a tree? Was it a vehicle? Make sure you get photos and videos of every angle. They may also want to send a claims adjuster to review the damage.
- Call the police — If vandalism or a car collision was the reason for the damage, make sure to call the local police department and get a police report filed. A copy of this report should be filed with your insurance claim.
- Survey says — Check property lines to make sure that your fence that was damaged doesn’t share a boundary with a neighbor. A boundary line can complicate the claims process because your insurance company might only cover half of the damage since the fence would be on both properties. A call or a visit to your City Hall should be able to answer this question for you.
- Save your receipts — If the damage is so severe that it needs emergency repair, save all receipts to submit to your insurance company after the fact.
- Fill out forms — It may seem like an obvious step, but make sure to fill out forms as soon as you get them and return them promptly. Any hold up on your end could mean a delay on the insurance company’s end.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I claim a broken fence on home insurance?
Whether home insurance will cover fence damage or not depends on how it was broken.
A storm or tornado damaging your fence will likely get covered. A healthy tree falls on your fence should get covered if you file a claim. You damaging the fence in a landscaping mishap or not properly caring for the fence won’t likely get the OK from the home insurance company.
Is a blown over fence covered by homeowners insurance?
Wind-related damage and fence repairs are usually covered as long as wind isn’t excluded from your insurance policy. Keep in mind, however, a homeowners claim involving a dilapidated fence might not get covered. The fence needs to have been in a good state of repair before the incident.
Likewise, if a tree lands on it. That tree should have been well-maintained to get the home insurance provider to pay for the damage. If either the tree or the fence were neglected before the incident, there’s a chance that your insurance company could deny the claim.