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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Removal?

By Teri Dormer

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If you live in an area that’s prone to major storms (including hurricanes), one of the most important things you can do to prepare for “storm season” is to care for the trees and foliage in your yard. 

Once a storm is coming, it will be too late to trim back low hanging branches or completely remove a tree that could be easily uprooted. So can you count on your homeowners insurance for tree removal insurance?

And what happens if a tree collapses in your yard (or on your home) after a storm? Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of the relationship between homeowners insurance and tree removal.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Removal?

If a tree has fallen on your home, fence, or is blocking your driveway, your homeowners insurance may pay for the damage and removal of the tree from your property. However, if a standing tree is at hand, homeowners insurance will not cover the removal of live, standing trees.

Even if a tree has fallen on your home or elsewhere on your property, the removal process may not be covered by your homeowners insurance. If you were aware that a tree was diseased or damaged and failed to have the tree trimmed or removed, you may be denied coverage for neglecting the care of your landscaping.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Removal After a Storm?

Most homeowners insurance policies include tree removal up to $1,000 after a major storm, as long as that tree has impacted an insured part of your property.

If a tree becomes uprooted after a storm but collapses in your yard without impacting your home or another insured structure (including the fence or a shed), your homeowners policy may not pay for tree removal services.

It’s important to realize that even if your insurance provider approves the claim for a damaged or downed tree, that coverage may not fully cover the cost of having a tree removed from your property.

If a large tree has become uprooted or damaged after a storm, your tree insurance coverage may not cover the full cost of removal, leaving you with a portion of the bill. 

Most policies include $1,000 worth of tree insurance coverage per storm. If a single storm damages multiple trees, you may be required to pay the difference in cost to have all of the trees removed.

Will Homeowners Insurance Help Me Remove a Dangerous Tree?

Most homeowners insurance policies will not cover the removal of a dangerous or low-hanging tree from your yard if that tree is still standing.

Unfortunately, tree insurance coverage doesn’t apply to the maintenance of your landscaping or any trees that may become dangerous during a major storm. When a tree is still physically standing (even if it’s close to being uprooted), your homeowners insurance will consider you responsible for the cost of trimming or removing the tree entirely. 

If you’re aware that a tree in your yard or on your property is in a dangerous position, you can also be held liable for doing nothing if that tree later collapses on your home (or your neighbor’s home). Without tree removal insurance, you may be required to pay for the cost of having that tree removed yourself. 

How Much Does It Cost to Have a Tree Removed? 

The average cost to have a tree completely removed from your yard will depend on the size of the tree, typically ranging from $500 to $2,000 and averaging $1,200.

The price may be high, but if a tree in your yard is 50% damaged or more, it could be easily uprooted in a major storm, causing catastrophic damage to your home in the process. You can tell that a tree has become diseased or damaged if it suddenly stops producing new leaves or changes colors out of season. 

If you suspect a tree may be diseased, you should have it professionally assessed as quickly as possible to determine how dangerous it may be and if it needs to be removed. 

Will Insurance Pay for Tree Removal?  

The short (and unfortunate) answer is that your homeowners insurance probably won’t pay for tree removal unless you happen to meet some very specific circumstances. Homeowners insurance and tree removal don’t apply to trees that are still standing, even if they’re damaged and could become dangerous. 

At the end of the day, you’re responsible for maintaining your landscaping, and that can mean having to pay a rather hefty bill of a large tree (or multiple trees) become damaged and need to be removed. 

Paying to have a tree removed from your yard can be expensive, but that’s nothing compared to the damage you could be held liable for if you have a damaged tree and neglect to maintain it. Even if you don’t have tree removal insurance, your safest bet is always to have damaged landscaping tended to as quickly as possible. 

Get a Quote Compare multiple policies to get the coverage you need at the price you want.

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