Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Removal?

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Fallen tree (Photo: @tylerbakerllc via Twenty20)
It feels like a great luxury to have a home with some natural life surrounding it. Looking out your window at a nice big tree makes your home feel cozy, comforting, and fancy. Almost everything about having trees, or even shrubs, on or near your property is great. Until they fall down, of course. Suddenly they’re not so nice to have around anymore.
If a tree falls down on your property, you’re likely going to want it removed. That’s doubly true if the fallen tree (or shrub) lands on something important, like your house or garage. Then you’ll really need to get that thing out of there as soon as possible.
But is that something you have to pay for? Or is the cost of tree removal taken care of by your homeowners insurance coverage? This is a question a lot of homeowners have. Read on to find out everything you need to know about making a claim for tree removal with homeowners insurance.

Does homeowners insurance cover tree removal?

I know this is never a fun answer, but it’s the honest one: sometimes. Tree removal is sometimes covered by your homeowners insurance company. And, sometimes, it’s not.
There are two elements that influence whether or not a downed tree can be covered by homeowners insurance. The first is the cause of the fall. Did the tree fall down because of something that is generally covered by your homeowners insurance? If not, then you’re out of luck.
The second is the area where the tree falls. If it doesn’t fall on anything that causes damage or inconvenience, like an insured structure, then your insurance won’t cover the debris removal.

Does homeowners insurance cover tree removal after a storm?

The primary cause of downed trees on people’s property is storms. So, does a homeowners insurance policy cover removal of trees that fell during a storm?
Here the simple answer is yes, but only within a very strict definition of storm. If a tree falls because it grew too heavy under the weight of snow and ice, that’s covered by insurance. If it falls in a serious windstorm, that will be covered. If, however, the tree falls because of standard and expected wind, it won’t be covered.
It’s the same with rain: If a serious rainstorm helps bring a tree down, that’s covered by insurance. But if moderate rain simply loosens the dirt around the tree, and it comes down? Well, you probably won’t get that covered.
And again, it depends on where the tree falls. If it simply lands in your yard, but doesn’t cause any damage to your structures (or a blockage of any sort) then it usually won’t be covered by homeowners insurance, no matter the cause of the fall.

Examples of when tree removal is covered by homeowners insurance

To go along with all of the aforementioned examples, tree removal will be covered if caused by a fire or lightning. In addition to those factors, the tree has to land on a covered structure like your house, garage, deck, fence, car, or driveway, or block a path for you or your car.

Examples of when tree removal is not covered by homeowners insurance

Tree removal is not covered by homeowners insurance if it lands in a convenient spot, such as in your front lawn or back yard, and doesn’t cause an obstruction. It also won’t be covered if a tree falls down because of rot, groundwater, flooding, or an earthquake, or because of anything that you’ve done to make it more liable to fall down.
Having a tree fall down on your property can be a hassle, especially if it lands on a structure. But in many cases, it’s covered by your homeowners insurance, and they can help you get the tree out of there.