YOU ASK:

If a dead tree falls on my house will my insurance cover the damage?

WE ANSWER:

Yes, particularly if the dead tree fell due to what is called an "act of God" - an event that no one has control over and that has no knowledge will happen. Such is the case if the tree fell because of a heavy wind.

The homeowners insurance will usually cover the repairs for the damage on this. Your policy (if it has HO3 coverage) will usually cover damage caused by falling objects, trees included. What can be paid for would be the damage on the roof or any structure covered by your policy. The policy will also pay for the removal of the tree from the structure itself, but it may not pay to have the tree removed from your premises or cleaned up.

However, the insurance company may look into the possibility of why the tree fell. If it can be proven that the tree or part of it fell due to your negligence, the insurance company may refuse to provide payment. By negligence, it may mean that you already knew that the tree was dead and you did not make any moves to have it uprooted for the safety of your home and your neighbors'. It may also mean that you failed to cut off any dead branches. Or, the tree fell due to the fact that you were cutting it down.

In addition, if the tree fell on your neighbor's property and he had told you beforehand in writing to have the tree trimmed or removed due to a possible danger and you did not act on it, the insurance company will not cover this. You may be personally held liable for the damages. When this happens, you can try to look into your homeowners liability insurance coverage.

Also, the insurance company will not cover the following events that caused the tree to fall:

  • Civil commotion or riot
  • War or acts or war
  • Explosion
  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Vandalism or malicious mischief
  • Intentional acts
  • Theft

The insurance company will not also pay for the tree, if you want to claim against the tree. You may try to have any loss or depreciation related to the tree deducted from your income tax.

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