Many or all of the products here are from our partners. We may earn a commission from offers on this page. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
Property owners need to understand what their homeowners insurance covers. For example, it's important to ask, "Does homeowners insurance cover tree removal?" This guide will explain the rules for when a homeowners policy pays for tree removal or fallen tree damage.
Answering the question, "Does homeowners insurance cover tree removal?" is complicated. That's because tree removal insurance coverage may be available. However, it depends on why the tree needs to be removed.
Here's what you need to know about homeowners insurance coverage for tree removal in different circumstances.
In general, homeowners insurance covers removal of a fallen tree or damage resulting from a fallen tree only if the tree fell onto a covered structure. When tree removal is covered, the insurer pays up to policy limits to remove the tree and repair or rebuild the affected structure.
For example, if a tree fell onto a house, removal of the tree and repairs of the house would be covered. Or if the tree fell on a fence or shed, removal and repairs of the structure would be covered. However, if a tree falls on the lawn and causes no damage to the home or structures, tree removal after storms typically would not be paid for.
The tree must also fall because of a covered peril. For example, if it fell due to wind and ice, removal and repairs should be covered.
Homeowners insurance doesn't cover preventative tree removal or dead tree removal. If a tree is in danger of falling, the homeowner is responsible for removing it at their own expense.
They should generally remove it to avoid being held legally responsible if the tree falls and injures someone or damages property. Whether insurance covers tree damage depends on homeowner actions. Some insurers will exclude coverage if a property owner is negligent in addressing problems on their property.
Generally, the answer to the question "Does homeowners insurance cover tree removal if a tree is diseased?" is no. Homeowners are responsible for paying for these costs out of pocket.
Homeowners insurance does not cover damaged tree removal. Unless the tree falls on or harms a covered structure, the homeowner is responsible for removal.
If a tree damages a covered structure, insurance will pay to remove the tree and repair the structure. It will pay up to policy limits.
Outside of this situation, homeowners insurance won't pay at all for tree removal after storm damage or for diseased tree removal.
It may provide coverage under certain circumstances, but many kinds of tree damage are excluded. To find out the exact answer to the question, "Does homeowners insurance cover tree damage?" read your insurance policy carefully. That way, you can get a homeowners insurance coverage overview to better understand your coverage and exclusions.
Homeowners insurance usually doesn't cover tree root damage. Insurance covers sudden losses, but damage from tree roots usually happens over time. Because there is time to prevent that, coverage is often excluded. (It's considered neglect not to have addressed the problem.)
Tree roots may cause damage by displacing soil or causing soil to dry out. While this can affect a home's foundation, it's often excluded from coverage.
Homeowners insurance covers tree damage after a tree falls -- under some circumstances. If a tree falls for a covered reason, such as wind or ice, then the resulting damage may be covered.
However, this is the case only if the tree damages a covered structure. For example, if a tree falls on a lawn and nothing is damaged, the insurer doesn't pay anything. But if it falls on the house, a fence, or other structure, insurance would pay for the damages. For example, roof coverage in homeowners insurance would pay to repair a roof if it was damaged by a tree falling on it.
Homeowners insurance should cover tree damage to a neighbor's property. This type of damage is covered under liability insurance.
No, a property owner's insurance won't cover tree damage from a neighbor's tree. However, if a neighbor's tree causes property damage, the neighbor's home insurance should provide coverage. This should be covered under the homeowner's liability insurance.
Homeowners insurance typically doesn't cover tree damage to a vehicle. However, auto insurance can provide coverage if a tree falls on the vehicle. This is covered only if the car owner had comprehensive coverage.
Before filing a tree insurance claim, find out if your insurance covers removal or damage under those circumstances. If the losses aren't covered, don't waste time finding a claim. Here's what to know about when and how to file claims.
If an incident with a tree is covered, it may make sense to file a claim. However, when you're asking "Does homeowners insurance cover tree damage?" consider the cost of repairs. Also think about how much the insurer will pay after the deductible (the amount a policyholder must first pay out of pocket). And calculate how much premiums will rise due to a claim. If an insurer will pay only a small sum after the deductible, homeowners may be better off paying out of pocket to avoid the premium increase.
To file an insurance claim, report the damage to the insurance company. Ask the insurer, "Does homeowners insurance cover tree damage under these circumstances?" If the damage is covered, follow the claim process with the insurer. Each insurance company has its own specific filing requirements.
Generally, it will be important to show evidence of the damage and its cause. That way, an insurer can decide if the damage is covered -- and how much to pay for covered losses.
It may be possible to appeal a denied insurance claim. Follow the insurer's appeal process if it's likely the claim should have been covered. But before appealing, read the fine print carefully to find out if the tree damage should have been covered.
The best way to reduce the likelihood of tree damage is to watch for problems that could lead to the tree toppling or branches falling off.
In general, a homeowner is liable for tree damage if a tree on their property fell and injured someone or caused damage to someone's property. Homeowners insurance liability protection would pay for damages.
If a tree on a homeowner's property falls on their own home, the insurer may cover damages. The tree must have fallen due to a covered loss. And it must have damaged a covered dwelling or structure.
The cost to remove a dead tree can vary. The size and location of the tree are the two main things that determine the cost.
Removing a dead tree before it falls is a good idea. Otherwise, the tree could damage property or cause injury. Some insurance plans exclude coverage for tree damage if the homeowner's negligence in failing to deal with the dead tree resulted in losses.
It's a good idea to remove dead branches from a tree. Otherwise, the branches could fall and injure someone or damage property. While homeowners insurance may provide coverage, protection for losses could be excluded if the homeowner was negligent in maintaining the tree.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. The Motley Fool has a Disclosure Policy. The Author and/or The Motley Fool may have an interest in companies mentioned.