Does homeowners insurance cover a tree falling on your house?

A homeowners policy will pay for damages when a tree lands on the roof. (iStock)

Homeowners insurance policies protect consumers when a tree or another object falls on their home, causing damage to the roof or other rooms.

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These insurance policies will cover tree damage, whether it’s a neighbor’s tree that falls on a person’s house or a tree that was in your yard.

Here are some factors that homeowners should be familiar with when it comes to property damage.

Does homeowners insurance cover tree damage? 

Insurance companies use several factors to assess property damage for a homeowner. However, there are two types of homeowner policies in the insurance industry — one is called "peril policies," which cover only specific types of perils named in the policy, and the other is "all-risk policies," which offer much broader coverage and respond to all types of physical loss unless an exclusion applies — according to Fran O’Brien, a division president at Chubb Personal Risk Services. All-risk policies could provide coverage for damage to a home from falling trees and tree limbs. Peril policies have more limitations and some will only provide coverage for losses in a fire.

When there is damage to your house or other structures, an insurer would typically pay the covered loss up to the limit of the insurance policy, she said.

“However, some companies may reduce your payout based on the age of your house or roof,” O’Brien said. “It is a process that takes depreciation into account.”

Some insurance companies offer policies that do not lower the claim amount due to depreciation or the aging of the home and will pay to have your home repaired or rebuilt to its pre-loss condition, even if the cost exceeds your policy limit, she said.

Damage to the home from falling or flying trees and branches is one of the most common claims, said Bill Martin, CEO of Plymouth Rock Home Assurance in Massachusetts.

“Most policies cover such damage though many will limit coverage for debris removal or reduce reimbursements if the damaged property is aged or depreciated,” he said. “If they determine any damage — yours or a neighbor’s is the fault of a person covered by a different insurer — they may hand the claim to that insurer or pay some amount and ‘subrogate,’ or ask the other carrier to reimburse them after payment.”

Check for free online through Credible’s partners to make sure you are not overpaying for homeowner’s insurance.

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Does insurance cover damage caused by a tree on a neighbor’s property? 

Insurance policies typically cover damage from a tree that was on your neighbor’s property. Homeowners are protected by the policy on their home, no matter where the tree comes from, said Daniel Halsey, president of personal lines at The Hanover Insurance Group in Worcester, Massachusetts. If the tree comes from a neighbor’s property, the homeowner’s insurance company may be able to recover costs from the neighbor’s policy.

“The insurance companies will sort out the liability on the back end if a neighbor’s tree were to fall on your home,” he said.

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Does insurance cover tree removal? 

If a tree damaged a home, the cost to remove that tree is normally covered as part of the necessary repair, O’Brien said. Some insurance companies will also provide a certain amount of coverage for trees that fell due to wind, hail, sleet, or the weight of ice or snow, even if they didn’t damage a structure.

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What insurance covers tree damage on a car? 

When a tree falls on a car, the comprehensive coverage on the vehicle’s auto policy typically provides coverage for tree damage. Some insurance carriers will offer bundled packages of home and auto coverage. “Customers are protected from paying two deductibles in the case of a large loss like a tree falling on a home and also damaging cars in the garage or driveway,” Halsey said.

Consumers should shop for auto insurance on a regular basis and compare deductible amounts and rates. Compare auto insurance companies and shop for your plan via Credible.

Shopping around for homeowners insurance annually is also a good idea to ensure you are getting the best rates for your home and property.

“When you begin shopping for homeowners insurance, keep in mind that insurance companies will be looking at your credit score,” said Jackie Boies, a senior director of housing and bankruptcy services for Money Management International, a Sugar Land, Texas-based nonprofit debt counseling organization. “Your credit score impacts your ability to purchase a home, your ability to insure it, and the cost.”

Homeowners insurance will cover any damages or loss to your home due to a tree falling unless it was caused by a natural disaster. Shop around to explore pricing and find the right home insurance plan that fits your needs on Credible.

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