Having a home surrounded by trees is great most of the time. Trees can add beauty to any home, and make you feel both cozier and more secluded. They can provide shade for gatherings and gardens, as well as a place for children to play. They can attract birds and other wildlife, and be an enormous piece of living art.
But, trees can also cause damage. As long as a tree is standing, it’s almost always a welcome addition to any home. But as soon as it falls down, it’s a less happy sight.
Not only is a fallen tree a hassle to clean up, but it can cause a lot of damage to anything it lands on. Most notably, your home. So, what happens if a tree falls on your house? Does insurance cover it? Read on to find out.
Does homeowners insurance cover a tree falling on your house?
Yes, homeowners insurance does protect you if a tree falls on your house. In general, your insurance policy will cover removal of the tree, as well as the cost to repair the damage sustained by your home.
However, a homeowners insurance plan will only cover a tree falling on your home under relatively common, unavoidable circumstances. These will be outlined specifically in your plan, and can vary from policy to policy, but usually include things like windstorms, snowstorms, rainstorms, and lightning. If those types of events cause a tree to fall on your home, your insurance should kick in.
When does homeowners insurance not cover a tree falling on your house?
There are certain things that can cause a tree to fall on your home that aren’t covered by homeowners insurance. The most common is negligence. If a tree falls down and you’re responsible for it falling down, then you’re unlikely to be covered.
This could be a dead or rotting tree that you’ve failed to remove, or a tree that falls down because the soil was unstable from too much surrounding water. It could also include you accidentally felling a tree onto your home.
Usually, homeowners insurance also won’t cover damage from flooding or earthquakes, unless your policy specifically notes otherwise.
What if the tree is on someone else’s property?
A common homeowners insurance question is what happens if a tree from someone else’s property falls on your home? In that case, it’s still up to your insurance to cover it. In these events, homeowners insurance covers damage sustained by your home, not damage caused by your property. So your insurance will cover that scenario; however, if your neighbor is negligent, then they will likely end up on the hook.
What if you have renters insurance?
Now that we’ve established that homeowners insurance covers a tree that falls on your home, let’s discuss renters insurance. What if you’re renting a house, and a tree falls on it? Does your renters insurance cover that?
Yes and no. Renters insurance only covers the valuable items in your home, not the home itself. So if the tree causes damage to your items, then your renters insurance will kick in. For instance, if a tree falls onto the house you’re renting and damages your art and TV, then your renters insurance will cover the damages.
Renters insurance does not cover any structural damage to your home. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you’re on the hook. It means that your landlord is responsible. All damages sustained by a falling tree to the structure of a house you’re renting are the responsibility of your landlord, and they should be able to use their homeowners insurance to have it covered.
A tree falling on your home is never a good time. But as long as it’s not your fault that it happened, you’ll be covered by insurance.