For the average American, a house is the biggest financial purchase they will ever make. Because it is such an expensive investment, you get homeowners insurance and maintain the property to the best of your ability. Sometimes, however, things happen that are out of your control—like when a tree falls and damages your house.
Your house is more than simply a financial investment. It’s your home. And when it sustains structural damage, the frustration and stress can be overwhelming.
This kind of situation forces you to think about practical matters. You need to figure out how to repair the damage to your home and landscaping and create a plan for removing the fallen tree (and any corresponding debris). And if a tree falling on your house damages the roof, you will need to get everything all sorted out before it rains and water damage becomes a potential issue. You will probably need to find another place to live, at least temporarily, while the work gets done.
Along with those emotional and practical considerations, there’s another big factor at play here: financial. How are you going to pay for it all? In this article, we are going to break this subject down and help you find the answers you need.
As we do, you will see situations where you may want assistance from Insurance Claim HQ, such as if your homeowners insurance unfairly denies your claim or comes back with an unreasonably small settlement offer.
When Does Insurance Cover Damage From a Tree?
There are many different scenarios where an insurance company should step in and provide compensation. Unfortunately, your homeowners insurance policy doesn’t necessarily protect you from all possible situations where a tree falls on a house. Let’s sort these out so you can know what you’re dealing with.
What Events Are Covered for a Tree Falling on a House?
As a general rule, your house is protected from events that are entirely out of the sphere of human control. These “acts of God” are unpreventable catastrophes and usually include weather and weather-related events.
This means that, for example, if the tree in your yard comes down due to the violent winds in a hurricane, your insurance company should cover the damages. The same holds true for tornadoes, lightning, hail, and floods.
An act of God is one example of a “peril” that is more specifically defined in your homeowners insurance policy. Perils are a specific cause of loss; other potentially covered perils might include things like vandalism/malicious mischief. If you think the peril is covered but aren’t sure, it’s best to review your policy.
Unfortunately, there are times when insurance companies act in bad faith. In these instances, they are obligated to compensate you for damages but deliberately use unfair tactics (misrepresentation, deception, unreasonable requests, etc.) not to do so. When that happens, keep Insurance Claim HQ in mind and know that we fight against those companies for clients who are in similar situations to yours. In addition to having your legitimate claim approved, you might also be entitled to additional compensation for the bad faith itself.
When Might Insurance Deny the Claim?
In some cases, an insurance company might try to deny the claim. This should be expected—after all, those companies don’t earn profits by giving away money. But there are times when they are in the right to do so (in accordance with the agreement both parties signed when you purchased your policy).
Two of the more common reasons an insurer might try to deny your claim is because your tree was either in poor health or not properly maintained. Homeowners are expected to take reasonable actions to maintain the health and safety of their property, and if you fail to take these steps the insurance company could be in the right for denying your claim. As we’ll cover shortly, there are measures you can take to reduce your risk of having a tree fall for these reasons.
Of course, there are other times when an insurance company’s denial is unfair and unfounded. If you have a rightful claim and the insurance company isn’t playing fair, you might want to come in to see us and review your legal options.
What if It Was Your Neighbor’s Tree?
Your homeowners insurance policy should cover you even if the tree that fell wasn’t yours. Likewise, if your tree falls on your neighbor’s house, their homeowners insurance would be responsible to pay.
The exception would be in cases where the owner of the tree had reason to know that the tree was dangerous due to damage or disease, yet neglected to remove it in a timely fashion. In that case, the resulting damage may be the responsibility of the tree owner, rather than the owner of the damaged property.
This highlights the importance of being vigilant and making sure you are tending to any trees on your property.
What Kinds of Damages Are Covered When a Tree Falls?
Now that we’ve seen when an insurance provider needs to honor their homeowners policy with you for the fallen tree, let’s look at what kinds of damages are (and are not) covered under a typical policy.
As a starting point, most structural damage to your house itself will be covered. This includes things like windows, walls, your roof, etc. Your insurer will likely pay for all such damages, minus the cost of your deductible.
Other structures on your property, such as a garage, deck, fence, or shed, are covered under some homeowners insurance policies but not others. Since this isn’t a given, it’s a good idea to review your own policy—even if you haven’t had a tree on your property fall yet—to see what terms it contains.
Besides manmade structures, landscaping elements, like bushes and shrubbery (or other trees), could be protected if you have expanded insurance endorsements. When that’s the case, there is usually a specified distance range for protection. For example, bushes and shrubs within 200 feet of the house might be covered, while ones farther away might not.
Personal belongings inside your house may also be covered if damaged by a falling tree. This means that if the tree crashes through your roof and destroys an expensive, antique piece of furniture in your attic, you might be eligible for compensation.
Does Insurance Cover Damage to a Car in the Driveway When a Tree Falls?
A standard homeowners insurance policy is not going to cover damage to any automobiles in the driveway when a tree comes crashing down. The good news here is that a comprehensive auto insurance policy should provide coverage for such an event.
Will the Insurance Company Pay for Tree Removal?
While perhaps not falling under the category of “damage,” a standard homeowners insurance policy may cover the cost of tree removal. This is typically capped at a certain cost and, if you aren’t sure how much that is, you can reach out to your insurance provider to ask.
It’s important to note that if a neighbor’s tree falls onto your property without damaging anything, the cost of removal is probably not covered, and you will have to pay out of pocket to take care of it.
Who Pays if the Tree Removal Company Causes Damage?
Any damage caused when a tree—either fallen or otherwise—is removed from your property does not fall under a standard homeowners insurance policy. In this case, the insurance company for the tree removal company could be on the hook for the bill. And if the tree removal service is uninsured, you should reach out to the team at Insurance Claim HQ to review your legal options.
Something worth considering in the case of a tree falling on a house is the cost of your deductible versus the cost of repairs. If the damage is relatively minor, it might save you money to simply pay for repairs out of your own pocket.
Can You Prevent a Tree From Falling?
If a tree falls on your house and you need help dealing with your insurance company, Insurance Claim HQ is always here for you. Of course, the best scenario of all is that the tree never falls on your home in the first place.
Of course, short of pre-emptively removing every tree within range of your home, you may only have limited control over this. In a hurricane or other severe weather event, even a strong and healthy tree can be toppled. But you can still take steps to reduce the risk. This can include:
- Regularly inspecting any trees on your property
- Pruning threatening tree limbs
- Periodically having an arborist (tree specialist) check out the health of your tree(s)
When you take measures like those, you not only are protecting your home from damage, but you also show the insurance company that you followed the appropriate maintenance recommendations, which makes it much harder for them to deny your claim on the basis of negligence if a tree does fall and damage your home.
Of course, if you followed responsible practices and the provider is still denying your claim, it’s time to reach out to Insurance Claim HQ.
How Can Insurance Claim HQ Help You if a Tree Falls on Your House?
If you’re looking for legal guidance after a tree has fallen on your property, it’s worth consulting with a law firm experienced with this kind of issue. Here at Insurance Claim HQ, we work for clients who have trouble trying to receive fair compensation from their insurers.
Our team can help you understand your policy, so you know what is and isn’t covered when a tree falls. Insurance agents aren’t always upfront about the intricate details of your policy. Whether intentionally or not, that means you might need an objective, experienced partner to help walk you through exactly what the insurance company’s agreement with you includes.
Along with that, we can collect and organize evidence necessary for proving your claim. Insurance Claim HQ has been doing this for a while and we know what is needed to put you in the best possible position to receive the compensation you deserve.
We also can file complicated paperwork on your behalf. In doing so, our team ensures that critical deadlines are met, and everything happens in a timely manner.
Perhaps the biggest advantage you get when you partner with us is protection against an industry that too often tries to bully the regular folks they are supposed to be working for. Our attorneys know their tricks and what it takes to cut through any fishy behavior.
Have Insurance Claim HQ Work for You
We are dedicated to fighting for your rights and doing everything in our power to get you the compensation you deserve. When you need legal representation from a firm that has experience standing up against insurance companies, come in and see us for a free consultation. You can either contact us online or call us at (844) CLAIM-84 to schedule your appointment.