Exterior of home with trees in yard

There’s nothing like a beautiful, old tree out in the front yard to give a home character. Trees invite songbirds, provide shade in the summer, show off stunning foliage in the fall, and generally serve as longstanding companions to any home’s landscape. Yes, trees are wonderful. Until you need to get one removed.

Maybe a recent storm pushed it into a precarious position, or the tree’s root system has begun to encroach on your foundation. Will your homeowners insurance help you foot the bill? Let’s get into some specific situations.

Does homeowners insurance cover preventative tree removal?

No matter how precarious the tree is, your homeowners insurance policy probably doesn’t cover its preventative removal. The costs associated with removing leaning, rotten, or otherwise dangerous trees fall to you. That said, the cost of removing a tree that seems to be in danger of falling is well worth it. Damage caused by fallen trees that were not removed due to property owner negligence may not be covered by your policy, and you could be on the hook to pay for any damages, injuries, and legal costs incurred.1 If you believe a tree on your property is looking hazardous, taking preventative action sooner than later could save you a lot of money and trouble.

Does homeowners insurance cover tree removal after a storm?

Storms can quickly turn healthy, safe trees into ticking time bombs. Particularly strong storms can even forgo the timer and hurl trees directly into your home or other property. But if this happens, are you covered? Does homeowners insurance cover tree removal after a hurricane, microburst, or other natural disasters?

The answer depends on where the tree landed, or if it was uprooted at all. Because homeowners insurance does not cover preventative tree removal, a tree that was merely damaged by a storm but not completely fallen will not be covered.1 It falls to you to remove that tree before gravity or another storm finishes what the first storm started. If the storm did completely uproot the tree, and it did not land on or damage any of your property, its removal may also not be covered.

Yet it’s not uncommon for people to file claims for damage caused by wind or storms, so how does tree removal get included in that mix? For tree removal to be covered in the wake of a storm, the tree must have caused damage to a structure that is covered by your insurance. For example, damage to the roof of your home or your front porch may be covered in this instance. Your insurance may also pay for a tree’s removal if it is blocking a driveway or handicap assistance ramp. If a tree is simply harmless debris on your property, then you’ll likely be removing it on your own.2

Does homeowners insurance cover damaged tree removal?

As much risk as a damaged tree can pose, your homeowners insurance may not cover its removal if it hasn’t fallen and damaged your insured property. And, as previously stated, if your insurer determines that the tree should have been removed already but wasn’t (due to property owner negligence), you may not be covered in that case either.1 Take preventative action and remove or prune damaged trees on your property before they develop into a more serious hazard.

If you have questions about your property, you can always talk to an insurance agent to understand what exactly your policy covers. Nationwide offers additional coverage for trees, shrubs, and other plants that provides some coverage for loss caused by fire or lightning, explosion, riot or civil commotion, aircraft, vehicles not owned or operated by a resident of the effected property, vandalism, malicious mischief, theft, or collapse of a building. To learn more, contact a Nationwide Agent.

Removing damaged, diseased, or otherwise dangerous trees is an important preventative step. However, every homeowner should also be insured in the event a storm or other unforeseen event causes a tree to damage their home. Get a free quote from Nationwide today and learn how homeowners insurance can better protect you and your home.

[1] https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/insurance/homeowners/does-homeowners-insurance-cover-tree-removal-or-damage/, Accessed December 2021.

[2] https://www.iii.org/article/if-a-tree-falls-on-your-house-are-you-covered, Accessed December 2021.

The information included is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state, or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided.