Homeowners Insurance Policies Cover Damage from Storms

February 27, 2017

If you live in a place where winter storms dump inches of snow on your property every winter, or even if you live in a place where winter storms are restricted to rain and high winds, check your insurance policy before you call anyone to remove fallen trees from your house, garage, or fence. Your insurance policy probably covers it, but you need to make sure you file the claim correctly.

Most standard homeowners policies pay for repairs or replacement when falling objects like tree limbs (or whole trees) damage your insured property, and this coverage usually includes the cost of cutting and removing the offending tree, as well as removing any related debris.

Generally speaking, the following guidelines apply:

  • Your insurance must pay for removal of a tree or tree limb if it falls on your house because of an ice or wind storm, and they must pay for the repairs required by any damage that it caused.
  • Your coverage generally includes the cost of having the cut-up tree hauled away, as well. In theory, the contractor your insurance company authorizes should do this as a matter of course.
  • Your insurance company will cover the repair to a fence or unattached garage if a tree falls on either of those as well, since they are covered as “other structures,” generally for a maximum of 10% of the coverage on the actual dwelling.
  • If no property was damaged, removal is not covered. (So if a tree lands in your yard, it’s your responsibility.)
  • Your insurance policy does NOT cover trees that are destroyed by storms, only damage to your home and other structures. (If a tree is uprooted, but falls in the yard, it’s your responsibility.)

Check your policy before you call for tree removal. It could save you money, but you still have to pay the deductible.