March 05 2016
tree on house 2

You come home after practically being blown off the road in a wild windstorm, only to discover you can’t get in to your garage. Your driveway is covered with half of the elm tree that used to be in your front yard. The other half of the tree is sticking through your garage door. Time to get out the homeowners policy and call the insurance company, right? But are you covered for this kind of damage?

The good news is your standard homeowners policy will likely cover damage caused by a tree. This is not limited to your main residence and would include a detached garage, a guest house, shed, or anything that is not specifically excluded in your policy. This includes any contents as well. The tree can be felled by natural disaster (windstorm, lightning, etc), but if your tree came down due to neglect, that may not be covered. So if the tree was healthy and trimmed periodically, you’re looking good.

Whether you own the tree or not doesn’t matter as far as filing a claim goes. Especially in cases of a windstorm where branches, bushes and whole trees can be projected from great distances, ownership isn’t something that could be readily assessed.

Of course, if the tree was located on your neighbor’s property, your insurance company may attempt to collect from your neighbor’s insurance company, especially if the tree fell due to poor maintenance. You may be reimbursed for any deductible. If a tree fell on your property but did not damage anything, it is unlikely you will receive anything to pay from removal. Exceptions could be if it is blocking your driveway or some other egress.

Take the time to talk with your insurance professional to see what kinds of perils you are covered for and what you are not. There is nothing worse than believing you have coverage only to find out you don’t. Don’t let that happen to you.

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