Standard home insurance provides some coverage for trees and shrubs damaged by wind, hail or snow, as well as fire, lightning, theft, vandalism and other perils outlined in the policy. But generally, the coverage is limited to 5 percent of the amount of insurance on the structure of the house and up to $500 per tree or shrub, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).
Check the policy and talk to your insurance agent about whether you need to purchase additional coverage for landscaping through an endorsement on the policy.
Home insurance also covers damage caused by trees that fall and hit the house or another insured structure, such as a garage. Home insurance pays for removal of the tree in that case (generally up to $500 or $1,000, according to III), and some policies might cover removal if the tree blocks a driveway or wheelchair ramp. However, home insurance doesn't cover removal of a tree if it falls in the yard without hitting the house or other insured structure.
What if a tree hits your car? Comprehensive car insurance covers the repairs. Comprehensive insurance is optional and covers damage to vehicles from causes other than traffic accidents.
To avoid landscape heartache, choose trees and shrubs that tend to withstand the elements in your region, and learn how to provide proper care to prevent losses. If you fail to maintain a tree and it falls and damages a neighbor's house, your neighbor's home insurance company could come after you to pay for repairs. In that case, your home insurance liability coverage comes into play, but you'd still be on the hook for the deductible and the claim would go on your record. If you have too many claims, the home insurance company could raise your premium.
Learn more about what your home insurance does and doesn't cover. See "Home insurance: Are you covered?"
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