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If A Tree Falls...Who Pays For It?

It is very common for large branches and trees to fall on properties.

It is very common for large branches and trees to fall on properties, sometimes causing damage to nearby homes and structures. After a storm with high winds, snow or rain, the last thing you want to see is another expense from something that was out of your control. 

The most important question is “Am I covered?”

The good news is, homeowner’s insurance can cover damage to your home that is caused by fallen trees, limbs and branches. However, this is dependent on the type of coverage that you have as well as other factors such as what caused the tree to fall and the type of damage incurred, so make sure you check with your insurance provider for the details of your specific policy. 

It is also common for a homeowner’s insurance policy to cover cleanup and damage to your belongings and other structures that are on your property, such as sheds, garages, gazebos fences or a pool. Notably, you may have to have “other structures” coverage for a policy to cover this. The items inside sheds and garages would be treated under your standard homeowners policy personal property coverage.

A fallen tree with no damage

If a tree falls on your property and there is no damage done, there is still a chance that removal and cleanup can be covered. Depending on your plan, there are certain requirements that must be met for this to be covered. For example, if there were high winds, ice, snow or if the fallen tree is blocking your garage or driveway, you may be able to get removal and cleanup taken care of without having to touch your wallet.     

A tree fell on my car… now what?

So, the tree missed your house, but unfortunately fell on your car. Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover this damage, but your auto insurance will as long as you have comprehensive coverage. If you do have this coverage, it also includes other damages that are out of your control. 

My neighbor’s tree fell on my house, who’s responsible?

In this case, your homeowner’s insurance may cover the fallen tree if it occurred because of a covered peril or falls under other requirements. If it was evident that the tree that fell was rotting or dead, then your neighbors’ insurance should cover the expenses. This can be harder to prove to insurance companies, so it is important to keep documentation of you asking your neighbors to remove said tree. If they are found at fault, then their insurance should cover the cost.

Will my insurance cover tree removal?

Your homeowner’s insurance will most likely cover tree removal and cleanup if the tree falls and damages your property. However, this will only be the case if the fallen tree and damage is a result of certain perils and meets requirements, such as blocking your driveway. If you notice a tree that seems “dangerous” it is part of your duties as a homeowner to get the tree safely removed. A way to avoid last minute removals is to keep on top of your yard maintenance, so you can avoid falling trees and costly removals. 

Preventing Tree Damage

The best way to avoid having to deal with fallen trees is by taking care of the trees on your property. A few ways that you can ensure your trees are adding value and not putting your property at risk are by trimming your trees, having an expert come out to evaluate them, removing any trees that show signs of falling, removing any branches that would cause a hazard if they fell and looking for signs of unhealthy trees. 

It is important to review your homeowner’s policy so you are aware of what is covered and what would fall under your responsibility. Keep up with the maintenance of the trees on your property to avoid the hassle of a fallen tree!

Contact Andrews Federal Credit Union to learn more about our insurance plans or visit a branch in DC, MD, VA or NJ today.