Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Fence Damage?

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A broken wooden fence (Photo: @vasiliy2020 via Twenty20)
Elan Mcafee · Writer · Sep 25, 2020
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    Good fencing can do a lot to add value to both your property and quality of life. Fences allow your furry friends to roam free or add privacy when entertaining with a family barbecue or backyard staycation. Unfortunately, fencing is prone to damage, whether it’s chain-link or wood. When the need to mend your fence arises, you might wonder if you can you claim fence damage on insurance. In many cases, the answer is yes.
    You can claim fence damage on insurance oftentimes under the other structures coverage of your homeowner’s policy when the need for repairs crops up suddenly. The other structures coverage also protects things like tool sheds and detached garages.
    Here are some examples of when your home insurance covers fence damage along with useful considerations.

    A tree falls on your fence

    If a tree falls on your fence, the good news is you can usually claim fence damage on insurance when it happens, which should pay for both fence repair and also the removal of debris.
    Interestingly, it doesn’t matter who the tree belongs to when making a home insurance claim of this nature. Whether the tree resides on your property or your neighbor’s, you can claim fence damage on insurance as long as it fell on your fence. There are, however, issues of whether the tree was healthy or not, because that speaks to if the fence damage was preventable.
    If proper tree maintenance could have prevented the disaster or it was dead and needing removal, your claim might be invalidated if the tree belonged to you. If a dead or damaged tree on your neighbor’s property fell, then your insurance may try to recover the cost of your claim from your neighbor’s homeowner’s insurance.

    Other storm damage occurs to your fence

    When storm damage like high winds causes parts of your fence to fall or otherwise be compromised, you can claim fence damage on insurance.
    Wind damage to fences doesn’t raise the same questions of preventability as fallen trees and is usually easy to claim on your home insurance. You will generally be covered up to the amount to replace your fence, although there may be some adjustments to that price tag if your fence had considerable wear and tear, weakening it in the face of bad weather.

    Other considerations when filing a claim for fence damage

    When fence damage occurs, take photos from multiple angles as soon as it is safe to go outside and do so. Include these photos with your insurance claim, and also include any photos you have of your fence prior to your damage.
    The type of fence you have affects the payout when you claim fence damage on insurance. Chain link is quite durable and garners a higher payout up to the cost of its replacement. Wooden fences, on the other hand, are less durable; they are usually only covered up the actual cash value of your fence at the time of the damage. So, if the actual cash value of your wood fence is low, the amount of your claim may not exceed the amount of your homeowner’s policy’s deductible. Then, you must weigh the question of “can you claim fence damage” with “should you claim fence damage.”
    If you don’t have other structures coverage under your current homeowner’s policy, it may be time to shop around or ask your current insurance company if it’s available. Any structure that is separate from your actual home is protected by this valuable addition, and it can save hundreds on costly repairs.
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