Many of BC’s Lower Mainland residents were taken by surprise this week with unseasonably high winds, thunder, hail, and even snow. If Mother Nature’s outburst has left you wondering what to do with a fallen tree, and hoping your insurance policy will cover related costs, we’re here to help you navigate a few common scenarios. A tree falling is absolutely an unsettling experience (especially if it has landed on your house), but rest assured that many situations are covered by typical home insurance. A successful claim often comes down to the exact reason why the tree fell in the first place. If the main cause is high wind, you’re much more likely to be covered than if a tree was neglected and ready to fall before a big storm hit.
Though plenty inconvenient, in a best-case-scenario a fallen tree has landed without causing damage. If it’s a matter of removing broken branches and other debris, you will need to check your exact policy to learn whether you are covered. If the tree has blocked your driveway, or a wheelchair accessible ramp, there’s a better chance you will be insured for its removal.
A typical insurance policy covers damage done by a fallen tree, whether it’s to the home itself, or its contents, regardless of whether the tree was growing in your yard, or your neighbor’s. Still, it’s important to prove that a force such as a windstorm was the cause, rather than being due to a dead or unmaintained tree on your property. Be sure to review your policy to learn the exact extent of your coverage, as limits may apply. In addition to repairing your home, some policies will allow for a healthy tree to be replaced.
A Tree in the Neighbor’s Yard
You’ve done all the proper maintenance, yet a tree still gets knocked down by a storm, landing on the neighbor’s house. Fortunately, it will be covered in most circumstances. However, your neighbor is responsible for filing claim under his or her home insurance policy.
Choosing comprehensive auto insurance is wise for many reasons, but storm damage may not have been top of mind when selecting a plan. If a windstorm causes a tree to land on your parked car while it sits in the driveway, it won’t usually be covered by the average home insurance policy. However, damages and removal are often covered through full coverage car insurance.
Detached Structures & Fences
Frequently, homeowners insurance will include other structures on your property, like fences, swimming pools, gazebos, tool sheds, and garages. Note that many policies have a maximum cap on this type of coverage, equal to 10% of your overall home insurance coverage. If you’re uncertain about your exact policy, ask one of our representatives.
Fallen Tree Solutions
Once emergency services have been notified, everyone is safely out of the home, and there are no downed power lines or other immediate hazards, be sure to take ample photos of the damage done. Make sure to take clear pictures from all possible angles as these will support your claim, then contact your insurer immediately to initiate a claim.
Insurance is of course designed to protect you when the unforeseen happens, but preventative maintenance really can do wonders and save you a great deal of time and hassle. Keep an eye out for branches that begin to hang over power lines, or cracked tree trunks. It may be necessary to remove a rotten tree before it becomes a liability, but many municipalities will require you to get a permit first in order to do so. Lastly, professional pruning of dead branches will help your trees safely weather the storm when it comes.
Need to start a Home Insurance claim? We’re here to assist you. Contact your nearest Johnston Meier Insurance location.