After the shock of a tree falling in your yard or on your house, the first question people usually lead with is… will my homeowners insurance policy cover this? The answer to this question seems like it should be pretty simple, but unfortunately like many answers that have to take into account a ream of legal disclosures and exclusions the real answer is… “It Depends”. This would be a terrible article if we left it at that, so we are going to shed some light on what “depends” really means.
We should start by saying that all homeowners policies are different, and you should read your specific policy or call your insurance agent to see what is covered and what is not, but we will give you some generalities that usually hold true.
Homeowners policies, in general, do not cover and damage caused by land movement or flood. Flooding in your home from an overflowing sink or a broken pipe is usually covered, while flood water from an outside source such as a river or ocean usually is not. Land movement in most cases is the result of an earthquake or mudslide, but other causes have occurred. Homeowners usually cover most everything else that you might dream of, as long as there is actual damage to the home or to a building or fence on the property.
If a tree falls because it is old or because a storm has blown it over, your homeowners insurance policy should cover any damage caused to your home, any out-buildings, or any fences. However, if a tree falls and there is no damage to any fences or structures, you are probably on your own and will have to pay a tree service company to get it cut up and hauled away from your property.
Who pays if it’s my neighbor’s tree falls on my house? If you thought the answer was going to be “it depends”, you are unfortunately correct. Usually your neighbor’s policy will cover this damage, but this doesn’t always hold true. The good news is, you really don’t have to worry about which insurance company pays, because it’s your insurance company’s job to figure that out. They will likely pay you for any damage that has occurred to your home, and then if necessary they will subrogate to your neighbor’s insurance company and make them pay up.
Whether you are a homeowner who is trying to figure out what to do (hint: call your insurance agent) or you are a tree service professional who is trying to answer this question (tell your customer to call their insurance agent), this article should give you a basic understanding of what is usually covered. My only other piece of advice for tree service companies is… if you are looking to grow your tree service business and get more tree removal or tree trimming jobs, I highly recommend buying Tree Service Leads from All Local Pros. They are a stand-up company with really high quality leads and calls. Give them a shot. You will be happy you did.
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