Fallen Tree Damage & Homeowner’s Insurance
A tree falling on your property can be a terrifying experience. We’re going to discuss a number of different coverage scenarios – there are a few things to keep in mind before we get started:
First, stay safe. If anyone is injured, treat their wounds and contact emergency services if necessary. If there are damaged power lines, contact local utilities – in Winnipeg, you can start by calling 311. If you smell gas, evacuate your home and call 911.
Second, call your insurance company to make a claim. Keep in mind that no two insurance policies are the same. The scenarios we’re going to discuss apply to many policies, but the rules may be different depending on your particular policy.
With all that in mind, let’s get started.
When a tree damages your property
Your insurance policy may offer coverage for fallen trees that damage your property – more specifically, your home. Your Autopac insurance may cover damage to your vehicle, depending on what caused the tree to fall. Basic all perils vehicle coverage will often cover for trees that fell as a result of inclement weather (windstorm, hail, blizzards, etc.).
A healthy tree falling is often covered
Most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover for damage caused by a healthy tree falling over as a result of inclement weather. Keep in mind that you’ll still have to pay your deductible.
A neglected tree may not be covered
There is a standard of care in any insurance contract. In the same way that your insurance company might not cover you for fire damage if you intentionally lit an open fire in your own home, your policy may not cover for damage caused by a tree you knew was rotting, dead, or otherwise likely to fall.
Fallen tree removal
Insurance policies rarely cover for the removal of fallen trees that have not otherwise caused damage to your property.
A neighbour’s tree
If a neighbour’s tree damages your home due to inclement weather or other covered perils, most policies pay out. A tree that falls on your home due to a neighbour’s negligence (i.e. they knew the tree was likely to fall over and did not remove it) may not be covered. In these circumstances, your neighbor should pay the damages. If they do not, you may need to take them to court.
Damage to your neighbour’s property
If a tree on your property falls and causes damage to your neighbour’s property, there are a couple of possible scenarios:
Their insurance may cover them
They may be covered by their own homeowner’s insurance (or by MPI, if damage occurs to their vehicle). Their coverage is most likely to apply if the tree fell as a result of inclement weather.
You may need to rely on third-party liability
If the damage is caused because you neglected to remove a tree that was likely to fall, they may ask you to pay for the damages. You can pay for these damages out of pocket, or you can, in some circumstances, use your homeowner’s third-party liability coverage.
There are a variety of other scenarios involving fallen trees and insurance for your home. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call – we can help you better understand your coverage.