Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Removal?


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Updated: May 23, 2024

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When a tree falls due to a covered peril and damages your home or other insured structures, homeowners insurance generally covers the cost of cutting it down. It's helpful to familiarize yourself with the conditions under which this coverage applies to avoid surprises. By familiarizing yourself with these details, you can ensure your property is adequately protected and maintained.

Key Takeaways

Homeowners insurance generally covers the removal of trees that fall due to covered perils, such as storms, fire, lightning or vandalism.

Insurance does not cover tree removal when the tree's condition is due to maintenance issues or negligence or if it falls without causing damage to structures.

Regular inspections, pruning and selecting appropriate tree species are essential for maintaining healthy trees and preventing damage.

Home Insurance Coverage of Tree Removal

Homeowners insurance typically covers cutting down your tree if it falls due to a covered peril, such as a storm or fire and causes damage to a covered structure. Understanding the specific events where cutting down trees is covered can help you navigate your policy more effectively.

Here are some common scenarios where homeowners insurance will likely pay for tree removal:

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    Storm Damage

    If a tree falls due to strong winds during a severe thunderstorm and causes damage, homeowners insurance will pay to cut down the tree.

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    Fire

    Homeowners insurance will cover the cost if a tree is damaged or needs to be cut down after a wildfire or house fire.

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    Lightning Strikes

    If a tree is split or damaged by a lightning strike, homeowners insurance will pay to cut it down.

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    Falling Objects

    If a neighboring tree falls onto your property and damages another tree, your home insurance will usually cover the cost of cutting down the damaged tree.

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    Vandalism

    If someone deliberately damages a tree on your property, homeowners insurance will pay to cut down the tree.

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    Vehicle Impact

    If a car crashes into a tree on your property, homeowners insurance will cover cutting it down.

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    Weight of Ice, Snow or Sleet

    If heavy ice accumulation causes a tree to snap and fall, homeowners insurance will pay to have it cut down.

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    Explosions

    If an explosion in the vicinity causes a tree to fall or become hazardous, homeowners insurance will cover the cost of cutting it down.

Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Preventative Tree Removal?

Homeowners insurance typically does not cover preventative tree removal since it’s considered a maintenance task rather than a result of a covered peril. Paying for preventative removal yourself can be wise, especially if the cost is less than your deductible, which is your out-of-pocket expense before insurance coverage kicks in. This way, you avoid filing a homeowners insurance claim and potentially increasing your premiums.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Dead Tree Removal?

Homeowners insurance typically does not cover dead tree removal since it is considered a maintenance issue, not a result of a covered peril. You may need to hire a professional service at your own expense to handle dead tree removal. Regularly inspecting and maintaining your property can also help prevent hazards and potential damage, ensuring safety and avoiding costly out-of-pocket expenses.

When Home Insurance Will Not Cover Tree Removal

Home insurance does not cover tree removal when the tree's condition is due to maintenance issues or negligence. Insurance policies are designed to cover sudden and accidental damage, not ongoing upkeep. If the tree poses a foreseeable risk or the removal is preventative, it is typically the homeowner's responsibility.

Here are some specific scenarios where insurance will not typically cover tree removal:

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    Dead or Diseased Trees

    Your insurer perceives these trees as a maintenance issue. Homeowners are expected to address these hazards before they cause problems.

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    No Damage to Covered Structures

    If a tree falls without damaging your home, garage or other insured structures, the cost of removal is not covered.

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    Preventative Removal

    Removing a tree to prevent possible future damage is considered a maintenance task and is not covered by homeowners insurance.

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    Falling in an Open Area

    Insurance will not cover the removal if a tree falls in your yard without posing any immediate danger or causing damage.

Risks of Improperly Maintained Trees on a Property

Improperly maintained trees can pose significant risks, including property damage, personal injury and legal liability. We explore these potential concerns below:

  • Property Damage: Overgrown or weakened branches can fall and damage your home, garage or vehicles, leading to expensive repairs. For example, a large branch may break during a storm and crash onto your roof, causing significant damage.
  • Personal Injury: Falling branches or trees can injure people on your property, such as family members or visitors. For instance, a guest could be seriously hurt if a dead branch falls unexpectedly.
  • Legal Liability: If you fall a tree on your property and damage a neighbor's property or injure someone, you may be responsible for the damages and medical costs. For example, if your tree falls on a neighbor's car, you may be responsible for the repair costs.
  • Power Outages: Trees growing too close to power lines can cause outages or fires if branches interfere with electrical wires. For example, a tree branch touching a power line during high winds can spark a fire or cause a power outage.

Understanding the risks of poorly maintained trees and taking preventative action will help keep you, your family and your home safe.

Tree Maintenance Tips to Avoid Damage

Proper tree maintenance can help avoid damage and prevent insurance claims, which can increase your homeowners insurance premiums. Through regular inspections, pruning and choosing the right tree species, you can maintain healthy trees and ensure the safety of those on your property.

Protect your property and reduce potential hazards with the following tips:

1
Regular Inspections

Regularly check your trees for signs of disease, decay or structural issues. For example, look for cracks in the trunk or dead branches and address these issues promptly to prevent them from falling.

2
Pruning

Regularly prune your trees to remove dead or overgrown branches. Proper pruning can reduce the risk of branches breaking during storms. For instance, trimming branches that overhang your roof can prevent damage from falling limbs.

3
Proper Watering and Mulching

Ensure your trees are adequately watered and mulched to promote healthy growth and prevent disease. For example, mulching around the base of a tree helps retain moisture and protect roots from extreme temperatures.

4
Choosing the Right Tree Species

Select tree species suitable for your region and property conditions. To reduce the risk of damage, avoid planting large trees too close to your home or power lines.

5
Professional Tree Care

Hire a certified arborist for regular tree care and maintenance. Professional assessments can identify potential hazards and provide expert pruning or removal when necessary. For example, an arborist can safely remove a diseased tree before it becomes dangerous.

FAQ About Tree Removal and Home Insurance

Understanding whether homeowners insurance covers tree removal can help avoid unexpected costs and ensure proper maintenance. Our answers to some frequently asked questions can help you better understand the ins and outs of standard home policies.

Will homeowners insurance cover tree removal after a storm?
Will homeowners insurance cover preventative tree removal?

About Mark Fitzpatrick


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Mark Fitzpatrick has analyzed the property and casualty insurance market for over five years, conducting original research and creating personalized content for every kind of buyer. Currently, he leads P&C insurance content production at MoneyGeek. Fitzpatrick has been quoted in several insurance-related publications, including CNBC, NBC News and Mashable.

Fitzpatrick earned a master’s degree in economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. He is passionate about using his knowledge of economics and insurance to bring transparency around financial topics and help others feel confident in their money moves.