Updated August 26, 2021|3 min read
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Homeowners insurance will cover the cost of tree removal depending on how the tree fell and where it fell. If the tree fell due to wind, hail, or a buildup of snow or ice, and it landed on an insured structure, home insurance can pay for its removal. But if the tree lands innocently on your lawn without damaging anything, your insurer probably won’t cover its removal.
Homeowners insurance can help cover the cost of debris removal, including removal of fallen trees
If a tree falls due to wind, hail, or the weight of snow or ice and it falls onto your house, shed, or another insured structure on your property, you’d be reimbursed for its removal
If your tree falls due to wind, hail, or the weight of snow or ice but it simply lands in your yard, you likely wouldn’t be covered for its removal
But if the cause of tree collapse is a fire, lightning, explosion, or vandalism, home insurance will pay for its removal, regardless of where it lands
If a tree falls on your home or fence due to a covered accident, like a bad storm, home insurance can help pay for tree removal. It will also cover repairs for the damage to your home and your personal belongings if they were damaged by the tree as well.
|Cause of tree falling||Where the tree fell||Is tree removal covered?|
|Wind, hail, snow or ice||On the house, garage, or fence||Yes|
|Wind, hail, snow or ice||On lawn or empty space||No|
|Fire, lightning, other covered perils||On the house, garage, or fence||Yes|
|Fire, lightning, other covered perils||On lawn or empty space||Yes|
|Flood, earthquake, wood rot, age||On house, garage, lawn, or empty space||No|
If a tree falls due to fire, lightning strike, or any other covered peril besides wind, hail, or the weight of snow or ice, then homeowners insurance may help cover removal fees regardless of where the tree falls on your property.
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You also may be covered if your neighbor’s tree topples over onto your home, as long as it fell due to a covered peril and landed onto an insured structure, like your house, garage, or fence. If a windstorm or the sheer weight of snow or ice causes your neighbor's tree to fall down onto your house, for instance, your insurer will typically pay for the tree’s removal.
If your insurance company determined your neighbor’s tree fell because it was diseased or dead and rotting, you may not be covered by your insurance, but you may be able to file a liability claim with your neighbor’s insurer. If it is proven that your neighbor knew about the dead tree and it fell because of their negligence, you may get a payout from your neighbor’s insurance company.
However, negligence is difficult to prove with something like fallen trees. If your liability claim is denied, your other option would be to talk with your neighbor and see if they’d be willing to pay for or split the cost of the tree’s removal.
If a tree on your property fell because of any other reason besides the ones listed above, you may not be covered.
Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood, earthquake, or mudslide damage to your home, and it also won’t pay to remove any trees that fall during those natural disasters.
If a tree falls due to rot, fungi growth, or old age homeowners insurance won’t cover removal costs. If a pest, like lanternflies or termites, kills your trees, home insurance also won’t pay to treat or remove them.
If a tree falls because of wind, hail, or the weight of snow or ice, insurance will only cover the removal if it lands on a covered structure on your property or blocks your driveway. That means if a windstorm knocks your tree over and it lands on your lawn, backyard, or garden, you likely won’t be covered for removal services.
If you want to remove a tree from your property because it’s diseased or for aesthetic reasons, you’ll have to foot the removal costs yourself.
According to the debris removal provision in a standard homeowners insurance policy, your insurance company will pay up to $1,000 total for tree removal, but no more than $500 for any one tree. Some insurance companies may offer higher debris removal coverage limits.
If the tree damages your home and personal belongings inside, you’ll be reimbursed for repairs and new items via your policy’s dwelling and personal property coverages, up to their respected coverage limits.
Homeowners insurance also includes additional protection for trees, shrubs, and other plants and will generally pay up to 5% of your policy’s dwelling coverage to replace landscaping that was damaged or destroyed by a covered loss in your policy. That means if your dwelling limit is $300,000, your insurer will pay up to $15,000 for any plant-related losses. Similar to the debris removal provision, your insurer won’t pay more than $500 for any one tree, shrub, or plant.
There are a number of ways you can limit the incidence of fallen trees and branches and reduce the potential hazards they pose. Below are a few options:
Prune, or cut branches off of a tree that appears dead
Contact a local arborist to come by for an inspection if the entire tree appears to be dead, or you have reason to suspect a termite or pest problem on your property.
If a neighbor has a rotted and potentially hazardous tree, talk to them about potentially removing it from their property.
No, homeowners insurance will only pay for tree removal services if a tree falls due to a covered peril, like a windstorm, and lands on your house, fence, or garage. If a tree is diseased and rotting, you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket to remove it. If a tree is overgrown and too close to your home for comfort, it’s still on you as the homeowner to take care of it.
Homeowners insurance is designed to protect you against sudden, unpreventable accidents, like bad weather or a burst pipe. Tree roots can take years to grow, meaning their damage to your home is gradual and occurs over a lengthy amount of time. For that reason, your insurance likely won’t cover the cost of tree root damage to your home’s foundation. If you believe roots are cracking your foundation or burrowing under your driveway, contact your local arborist for assistance.
There are eight different types of homeowners insurance policies for various home types and coverage needs.
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