Severe weather and winter storms in Texas can bring widespread freezing, ice storms and especially overnight icing when temperature drops below freezing. Does home insurance cover fallen trees on my property? On a typical homeowners policy if a tree hits a covered structure, the insurer would cover the cost of removing the tree, generally up to $500 to $1,000, depending on the insurance company and the coverages selection you made.
What is a covered structure?
Covered structures can include the house, fences, gazebo, driveways, walkways, and other structures as indicated in your homeowners policy. Grass, flowers, or lawns are not included. Leaning posts or loose rails are considered damage to fences under most policy terms. Covered roofs, loose or marked up shingles, gutters or siding can also be considered when damaged from a fallen tree.
Does Austin home insurance cover tree removal due to ice?
If a tree falls on a covered structure and remains on that structure, an insurer will typically pay a reasonable amount to have that tree removed from the structure (chop and drop) to check for damages. If damages are discovered to the covered structure and that structure is insured by the same insurance company, they would typically pay for those damages, plus up to policy limits to have the tree removed from the premises for debris removal.
- Situation One: Ice causes a tree to fall in the yard, but the tree does not damage a covered structure. In this case, there would be no coverage for any removal of a fallen tree or branch. Unless there is a special endorsement that enhances your base home policy.
- Situation Two: Wind causes a tree to initially fall on a fence, however, it comes to rest in the yard adjacent to the fencing. Because the tree is not still on the covered structure, there is no need for removing it from a covered structure. If there is damage to the fence, the insurance company can pay out for damages to the fence and up to $500 for debris removal from the premises. However, if there is no damage, there is no coverage for debris removal. Subject to your deductible or policy limitations.
- Situation Three: Windstorm and driven rain causes a tree to fall onto a covered structure, and there is damage to the roof and soffit. Damages to the covered structure, are covered. The insurance provider would pay to remove the tree from the roof, the full amount of repairs to the roof, and up to policy stated limits to remove the tree from the premises. Subject to your deductible and terms.
Most policies can be customized for an additional amount to include some coverage for trees, shrubs, plants, or lawns on the residence premises against loss if they are damaged by perils: fire hurricane, wind, hail lightning, explosion, riot or civil commotion, aircraft, vehicles not owned or operated by a resident of the premises, vandalism or malicious mischief, and theft.
It is important to note that not all Austin home insurance policies are the same, and some do not cover fallen trees or falling objects. If you selected a policy with the “pay for what you need” insurance plan then you may have more basic coverage on your home. Or if you have a dwelling fire policy its possible coverage is excluded for fallen objects.
Note: Stump grinding is not considered part of the chop and drop or removal process and is not covered under your dwelling, homeowners or property insurance policy. Contact us to discuss your coverage concerns and needs.
What if my neighbor’s tree falls on my home?
Damage to your home caused by a fallen tree due to a covered loss, such as wind or lightning, is generally covered. There may also be coverage under your neighbor’s home or property policy if there tree damaged your property.
Does car insurance cover damage to your vehicle from a fallen tree?
If a tree falls from your property onto your car, it would be your auto insurance and not your homeowners insurance that will likely help cover the cost of repairs. However, the tree does not have to be from your property. You likely have coverage if a tree falls on your car, no matter from where as long as you have comprehensive coverage on your automobile policy. The cost to remove the tree from atop your car may not be covered by auto insurance. If your neighbors tree damages your auto their homeowners insurance may pay for your repairs.
Should I file a homeowners claim for a fallen tree in the ice storm?
We can help you make an informed decision. Contact your agent for a loss consultation to learn about your options.
For more resources check out these resources:
- Insurance Information Institute – Are you Covered if a Tree Falls?
- Travelers Insurance – Fallen Tree Facts
- Safeco Insurance – Fallen Tree Coverage
*Descriptions of insurance products and packages are meant to offer general ideas only, are necessarily brief, and are subject to policy provisions, limits, deductibles, exclusions, and conditions that can only be expressed in the policy itself. In the event of a conflict, the terms and conditions of your policy prevail. This information is provided solely as an insurance risk management tool. It is provided with the understanding that we are not providing advice or any other professional services. We shall have no liability to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damages alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the use of this information.