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Is tree removal covered by home owners insurance?
Last updated: 13 August 2020
Tree removal can be expensive, so trying to get your insurance company to cover the cost is a fair call.
How owners insurance will cover the cost of tree removal if the tree has come down in a storm or some other accident.
If you are just wanting to remove it because it is old or you want to replace it with another tree, then your insurance company won’t foot the bill.
Think of it a bit like health insurance. Accidents are covered, but cosmetic surgery is not.
Fallen tree insurance cover
If a neighbors tree falls on your property because of a storm or some other extraordinary accident, homeowners’ insurance will most likely cover the cost of the tree removal. What they will not cover it if the tree is deal or in disrepair and falls.
They consider that a preventable situation because you should have taken the responsibility of maintaining your trees and having the tree removed before the accident happened.
In a situation where a tree from your neighbor’s yard has fallen into your yard, then your neighbor’s insurance will foot the bill. Their tree, their problem. In the event that they are not covered, your insurance company should come to the party to remove the tree as no matter the circumstances, they were out of your control and you are the victim of an accident.
What about after a storm or a hurricane?
If a tree fell on your house because of a storm, hail, and lightning, etc. your insurance will cover the cost.
On the other hand, if the tree falls on your lawn or an empty space because of a storm or hail, the insurance will not be applicable for the tree removal.
Basically, if a storm blew into your property and caused lasting damage to the structure, the insurance company would be willing to step up. However, they will not help you if they do not see evidence of the tree that has caused any damage. In these cases, you got ‘lucky’ as it fell over the right way and you need to have it removed.
How much is allotted for tree removal in an insurance claim?
Insurance companies are not willing to have an unlimited budget where tree removal is concerned. They set a maximum limit that they are ready to give you for removing a tree.
Usually, the amount is set at 5% of the total dwelling coverage in your policy. For example, if your entire house is covered for $250,000 according to your policy, then your company will spend up to $12,500 when there is cause for tree removal.
However, most insurance companies refuse to do to spend over $500 to remove each tree. So if you had three trees fall inside your, the company would provide a maximum amount of $1500 to cover the costs of tree removal.
Usually, it should not cost more than $500 to remove a fallen tree (depending on the size), so the coverage you get should be more than enough.
These figures are not fixed for everyone, and you should check your policy for the particulars.
How to get insurance to cover tree removal?
There is no sure-fire way you can get your Homeowners’ insurance to cover the cost of tree removal, especially if the tree is healthy. If you had a bright idea of changing your coverage to include tree removal, then getting them to pay up in 6 months’ time, think again.
It all depends on the situation, but in most cases, insurance companies refuse to bear the cost of removing a tree that has not been uprooted. Their logic is that the consumer is responsible for the overall maintenance of their property, which includes the trees. The only reason some insurance companies agree to cover a tree removal is if the tree falls and obstructs the driveway cutting off access.
Insurance companies tend to cover the cost of tree removal when the tree falls due to a natural disaster. They can end up paying anything from $500 per tree to $1,000 per storm.
If a fallen tree has damaged the structure of your house, the home insurance will cover all the repairs.
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Can I get a tree removed for free?
In most cases, you will not be able to get your trees removed for free. Some people think that a tree company will come and take the tree away for free as they are getting timber and woodchip they will sell on to other customers.
It is true some tree companies have a side business in firewood and garden mulch, but it’s just this that gets them through the winter months when there is little work on.
If you live on a large property and you have 5 + large trees with desirable timber such as pine trees, oak, ash or maple, you can call a milling company who might be able to come and take them away for free as they can mill the timber and sell on. The emphasis is on a large property. They will need to be able to get heavy equipment to knock the job over fast.
But 99.9% of the time, you will need to pay for your trees to be removed as it is just not worth a company’s time for the small amount they make on the side with the timber.
Will, the city, cut down a tree on my property?
In short no. Although the city has the legal authority over your trees as they are a part of and benefit the whole community, they will not foot the bill for pruning or removal. That is up to you.
Where can I get financial help for tree removal?
Tree removal can be expensive simply because of how labor-intensive the process is. If you have a job that needs doing right now and you don’t currently have the finances you can
a) Find a company that takes credit cards.
b) Find a company that has interest free finance options. Most companies will not have this, but they will use a 3rd party company
At the end of the day, it is still going to cost you, but you will be able to defer the large amount to pay off later via credit card repayments or through finance.
If you are on the pension, most companies do offer up to a 15% discount upon sighting a pensioner card.
Author: Ben McInerney – Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.
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