Tree Damage – Are You Insured?

Video-Images-INS101-TreeDamageWith all the tree damage from the recent storms, we’ve seen a lot of online conversation about insurance and the coverage or lack of coverage for tree damage.  One person posted “Did you know that insurance only covers to have trees removed if they hit your house?”  (That isn’t always true – it depends on the type of policy they have.)  Another person thought their insurance would pay to replace the trees that have fallen down.  (Homeowner policies typically do not pay to replace trees that have fallen down due to a windstorm.)  Due to these misconceptions, we want to provide more information to our policyholders regarding tree damage and what is covered vs. not covered.

Basic HO-3 or HO-5 Policy

If you have this type of policy, coverage for debris removal of tree(s) which have fallen due to a windstorm is only provided if the tree(s) damages a covered structure (meaning the home, garage, shed, etc.) or if the tree blocks a driveway blocking access to the residence premises or blocks a ramp or other fixture designed to assist a handicapped person enter or leave the home.  The tree debris removal coverage limit is $500 per tree, no more than $1,000 per loss regardless of the number of trees that have fallen.  No coverage is provided to replace the fallen tree(s).

This is true for all states except Virginia.  In VA, we will pay the reasonable expense incurred by the insured in the removal of fallen trees which cause damage to covered property.  The tree must damage covered property for there to be coverage for tree debris removal.  No coverage is provided to replace the fallen tree(s).

Plus Ten Endorsement

If you have this endorsement on your policy, coverage for debris removal of tree(s) which have fallen due to a windstorm is provided regardless of whether or not the tree damages a covered structure or blocks a driveway or ramp.  (If the tree falls in the yard and doesn’t hit anything else or block anything, the tree debris removal coverage would still be available.)  The tree debris removal coverage limit is $500 per tree, no more than $1,000 per loss regardless of the number of trees that have fallen.  No coverage is provided to replace the fallen tree(s).

This is true for all states except Virginia.  In VA, the tree debris removal coverage limit is $1,000 per loss regardless of the number of trees that have fallen.  (There is no per tree limit.)  No coverage is provided to replace the fallen tree(s).

Summit Homeowners Policy

With this policy, coverage for debris removal of tree(s) which have fallen due to a windstorm is provided regardless of whether or not the tree damages a covered structure or blocks a driveway or ramp.  (If the tree falls in the yard and doesn’t hit anything else or block anything, the tree debris removal coverage would still be available to the insured.)  The tree debris removal coverage limit is $1,000 per tree, no more than $2,500 per loss regardless of the number of trees that have fallen.  No coverage is provided to replace the fallen tree(s).

This is true for all states except Virginia.  In VA, the tree debris removal coverage limit is $2,500 per loss regardless of the number of trees that have fallen.  (There is no per tree limit.)  No coverage is provided to replace the fallen tree(s).

Signature Homeowners Policy

With this policy, coverage for debris removal of tree(s) which have fallen due to a windstorm is provided regardless of whether or not the tree damages a covered structure or blocks a driveway or ramp. (If the tree falls in the yard and doesn’t hit anything else or block anything, the tree debris removal coverage would still be available to the insured.) The tree debris removal coverage limit is $5,000 per loss regardless of the number of trees that have fallen.  (There is no per tree limit.)  Coverage is provided to replace the fallen tree(s); the limits available are $1,000 per tree, $5,000 per occurrence, and $10,000 per policy term.

North Carolina HE-7 Policy 

If you have this type of policy, coverage for debris removal of tree(s) which have fallen due to a windstorm is only provided if the tree(s) damages a covered structure (meaning the home, garage, shed, etc.) or if the tree blocks a driveway blocking access to the residence premises or blocks a ramp or other fixture designed to assist a handicapped person with entering or leaving the home.  The tree debris removal coverage limit is $1,000 per tree, no more than $2,000 per loss regardless of the number of trees that have fallen.  No coverage is provided to replace the fallen tree(s).

One other nice thing about Central’s Plus Ten endorsement, Summit Homeowners policy, Signature Homeowners policy, and the HE-7 policy is that they provide Coverage D – Loss of Use coverage for power outages which are caused by a windstorm.  This coverage begins 48 hours after the residence premises becomes uninhabitable and continues for no longer than 7 days.  For example, people currently without power during this heat wave could go stay at a hotel until their power is restored.  This coverage would pay for the hotel and other additional living expenses such as having to eat out for every meal.

In regards to the policy deductible, it applies to both Coverage D – Loss of Use and Debris Removal.  For instance, if you suffered a $10,000 covered loss involving damage to your home, loss of use due to power outage, and tree debris removal, you would receive a claim payment of $9,500 ($10,000 minus the $500 deductible). The policy deductible is only applied once, as opposed to separately to each individual coverage (your home, loss of use, debris removal).  Now if you have a $400 loss involving tree debris removal, you would not receive a claim payment, as the total amount of your loss is less than your policy deductible. The total amount of your loss must be more than your policy deductible for a claim payment to be made.

If you’re not sure which policy you have, or have additional coverage questions, contact your Central agent or ask your question below … and stay safe out there!

(Thanks to April Overman from our Underwriting department for providing this helpful information!)

The policy coverages described above are in the most general terms and are subject to the actual policy exclusions and conditions. For specific coverage details and policy exclusions, refer to the policy itself or contact a Central Agent.

9 Comments on “Tree Damage – Are You Insured?

  1. Nice job writing the article. Wish our weather systems would calm down.Respectfully,Michael T Daugherty,Daugherty Insurance & Co.,Rossville,Ga

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  2. Thanks, Mike! We normally don’t write about Central-specific products, but thought it was necessary this time. Amen to your weather wishes!

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    • Heard about all the Central Folks who lost power last week. Hope everyone has their power back on.We take a lot for granted sometimes. Just having the luxury of electricity is a lot to be thankful for.

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  3. Most (if not all) of our employees have their power restored, but some waited more than a week. Luckily we had shelters locally so people could clean up and cool down. It was nice to see neighbors helping neighbors in a time of need.

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