If a tree falls on my roof due to a storm, does my homeowners insurance cover the damage and tree removal?
UPDATED: Jul 23, 2012
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Asked July 23, 2012
Under most standard homeowners policies, a live tree, or living branches of the tree, which fall and cause damage during a storm would be covered. There are exclusions and limitations, and the amount of coverage may be limited to a relatively small amount. Some policies will pay for the damages but do not cover removal of the tree or branches. If you are in doubt, read your policy carefully, and contact your insurance agent about a rider policy for additional coverage if you fell that it is warranted.
On the other hand, if the tree which caused the damages is dead, the insurance company may deny the claim on the grounds that you should have removed it as part of preventive home maintenance. This will depend on how the policy is worded, as well as whether the fallen tree was completely dead and how much of the damage is directly caused by non-living parts of the tree.
If you have quite a few trees on the property, or trees that have branches overhanging the home or other structures, it might be in your best interest to have a rider added to your policy. This would increase the amount of coverage related to fallen trees, including increasing the maximum amount the insurance would pay for tree removal. By default, the removal of a fallen tree may be limited to around $500, and if more than one tree has fallen the limit could fall far short of paying for removal of the debris.
Check the trees on your property often, and take proactive steps to remove dead or dying limbs or trees. This reduces the possibility of storm damages and prevents the insurance company from denying claims based on negligence or improper maintenance. This would mean doing the work yourself or paying out of pocket, but in the long run you would probably save more by paying for tree removal than in the deductibles that would be necessary if you filed a claim later.
Answered July 23, 2012 by Anonymous