One of the most common insurance claims in Ohio homeowners we encounter is a tree falling on a property. Of course, the next question is "Does my homeowner's insurance cover the tree and / or its removal?"
The answer is – it depends. I know you hate that answer, but unfortunately it's true. To help you better understand how a homeowner's insurance policy covers fallen trees, here are some examples of claims. Hopefully, these examples will give you a better idea of when your homeowner's insurance will cover and when it will not.
Claim Example 1- A tree falls and hits your house and causes damage to the house
This is usually quite uncomplicated. The carriers we represent (and I guess most others) will provide cover to remove the tree if it is resting against a house. The dollar amount to remove the tree would simply be included in the total cost of the claim. Of course, everything is subject to your deductible ̵
What happens if the tree hits the house and then falls to the ground? You should still get coverage for repair + removal of trees. Our experience has shown that provided the tree hits a covered building, the removal would be included in the total damage cost. garage, etc.)
This is where it gets a little tricky. Every business is a little different, but here are some options you can see:
- A policy MAY include the removal of debris (if the tree does not hit a covered building) in the policy contract itself. There is usually a maximum amount of one per tree limit and the coverage can only apply to certain hazards. Dangers are the causes of loss. Here is an example of the wording from one of our companies:
We will also pay up to $ 1,000 per "event" with a limit of $ 500 per tree for the removal of fallen trees in the "residential area" if loss is caused by windstorm, hail or weight of ice, snow or sludge even if covered goods are not damaged.
- If it is not included in the policy itself, coverage for this situation may be available through approval. It is usually called debris removal or storm cleaning. It's pretty cheap.
Some important things to note in this situation:
- Commercially grown trees are normally excluded – such as those grown in a garden or nursery to sell to others (companies).
- There may also be a distance limit – for example, the tree must be within 300 feet of the insured home.
- Your deductible may also apply in this situation.
Again, it is worth talking to your insurance company / agent to see what options are available for removing debris if the tree does NOT fall on a covered building.
Claim Example 3- A tree falls on a building other than your house
Homeowners' insurance in Ohio is a package policy, which means that it covers more than just your house. So let's say the tree falls on your detached garage and damages it. Since the Garage is considered a different structure (coverage B for the homeowner's policy), it should work in a similar way as described in the first example.
An exception would be if the building was excluded from the policy. Exclusion = no coverage. However, most homeowners insurance policies for owner-occupied homes have coverage B. When in doubt, talk to your insurance company or agent.
What happens if I have an apartment instead of a house?
Many apartment agreements say that you are responsible for the walls inwards, while the cooperative is responsible for the walls outwards. So, according to this logic, it would make sense for the apartment association's insurance to respond to any debris removal. And depending on the level of difficulty, they may even decide to pay out of pocket.
But do not make assumptions. Read your apartment agreement or ask for clarification from the association so that you know what you are responsible for and what the association is responsible for. Then you can go to your insurance company to see how you get coverage.
What is the most important takeaway here?
It is a safe bet that if a tree falls on your house, there would be cover for debris removal. As mentioned earlier, the deductible applies, so it is really possible that total damage + tree removal may be less than your deductible.
If the tree just falls and does not hit a covered building, there MAY be some coverage for debris removal. It depends on what is available in the insurance automatically, if additional claims are part of the insurance and what was the cause of the loss. removed trees and debris covered by my homeowners policy? If not, ask how you can get coverage. There are often recommendations that you can add to your policy to get you this coverage. Since there are literally thousands of insurance contracts, it is best to go directly to the source for a definitive answer.
Do you have the home insurance you need in Ohio? Or not sure what you have will be there when you need it most? Call us at (937) 592-4871 or fill out the form below. We review your current coverage and see how we can help!