Homeowners insurance coverage for fallen trees may be handled differently by different carriers and this part of your policy should be carefully read and understood, with the help of your trusted insurance advisor if necessary. It can be tricky, but the specifics of your homeowners insurance policy and your particular policy coverage limits should be well spelled out.
If a dead tree falls on your house due to an act of God and you had no forewarning, it will likely be covered. Benefits would kick in after your policy deductible is satisfied. Coverage should include the removal of the fallen tree from your home and repair of the structure, but may or may not pay for the removal of the tree from your property. If the same tree falls on your property but causes no damage to a covered structure your homeowners insurance probably will not pay any benefits.
Your insurance company will almost certainly look into the reason why a tree fell on your property, and if they can prove the cause attributable to your negligence the claim may be denied. Neglect is excluded in most homeowner’s policies, requiring policyholders to make efforts to prevent a loss. If a tree is known to be decayed or dead, appropriate maintenance would require that it be removed. Failure to do so would likely be interpreted by your insurance company as proper preventative efforts not being undertaken on your part to avoid a preventable loss. If the same tree were to fall and damage your neighbor’s home, however, the liability portion of your homeowners insurance policy would likely cover the damage and also legal costs and lawyer fees if your neighbor sues you.
A dead tree on your property can be dangerous. Decaying wood invites the appearance of certain insects like termites and carpenter ants and one thing is for sure – if it’s dead it will eventually fall over. You’ll then be faced with not only cleaning it up and getting it carted away but also dealing with any damage caused. If anyone is unlucky enough to be in close proximity when it falls they could be injured or even lose their life. The risk is definitely not worth waiting to take care of this ticking time bomb! By the way, if it happens to fall on your car it’s your vehicle’s comprehensive insurance that pays, not your homeowner’s.