If a tree falls on your house, will your homeowners insurance pay?

Investigators

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – Strong winds associated with severe storms generally cause tree damage and some of those trees end up falling on homes.

You need to know what your homeowners insurance will and won’t cover when a tree hits your house.

The cleanup always takes longer than the actually destruction caused by the falling tree.

When trees fall—they are indiscriminate, taking down power lines and anything else that’s in the way.

When a tree damages your house—there’s usually just one thing on your mind: what will it cost and how quickly can I get it fixed?

The question is, if a tree falls on your house, will your homeowners insurance pay?

The short answer is—it depends.

There are a few factors that will determine if and how much you will be responsible for paying.

CONDITION OF THE TREE

It depends on whether the tree was healthy before it fell. If it was diseased and neglected, insurance won’t pay.

WATER DAMAGE

Your homeowners policy will cover water damage resulting from a tree hitting your home. However, it will not cover flooding. That’s a separate insurance policy subsidized by the government that is available through your local insurance agent.

WHO PAYS FOR TREE REMOVAL

If a tree like this falls and causes no structural damage, your homeowners insurance generally won’t pay for the cleanup. That cost is on you.

If a tree hits an insured structure, a homeowners policy covers the cost of removing the tree, generally up to about $500 to $1,000, depending on the insurer and the type of policy purchased.

If the fallen tree did not hit an insured structure, there is generally no coverage for debris removal.

NOT YOUR TREE, BUT YOU ARE DAMAGED

If the tree that hits your home fell from your neighbor’s property, they are not responsible insurance-wise. Your insurance will usually pay for most of the repairs minus delectable.

FULL REPLACEMENT VALUE

Generally, insurance will not pay full price to replace possessions in your home unless you have a special rider on your police specifying full replacement value. Otherwise, insurance will pay the actual cash value of an item, which is subject to depreciation.

REMEMBER THE DEDUCTIBLE

It’s important to keep in mind that you’ll typically have to pay any deductible before your insurance will help pay for a covered loss. 

Also, coverage limits will apply, so read your policy carefully before an accident happens so you’ll know what to expect.

You may want to speak to your agent to change coverage if you are unhappy with your current policy.

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