Will Home Insurance Cover a Collapsed Garden Wall?
Caeva O'Callaghan | April 5th, 2022
Waking up to find your garden wall has crumbled during the night isn’t anyone’s cup of tea. But will your home insurance cover it?
This is because your house insurance covers you for damage from natural causes – such as if a tree falls on your wall – as well as incidents such as vandalism or accidental damage from a third party. How it works is a little different depending on the cause of your wall collapsing, but the good news is you do have cover.
In this article, we’ll answer such questions as:
- Does my buildings insurance cover my garden?
- Does home insurance cover falling trees?
- If someone crashes into my garden wall, will my insurance cover it?
In most cases, a falling tree, out of control car or storm damage are insurable risks. This means that repairing your garden wall should fall under your home insurance policy.
Does my buildings insurance cover my garden?
Yes. Your home insurance – under your buildings section – will cover gates, walls, hedges and fences as well as the garden itself.
Once you notice that your wall has collapsed, there are a few things you need to sort out as soon as possible – not least of which is addressing relationship issues with your neighbour if it was their tree or some other property of theirs which fell on your wall and damaged it.
In any case, the most important thing you need to do first is calculate the cost of the damages. It’s not always as easy to do this for a garden as for a home. For example, you can easily dig out an invoice and find out exactly how much you paid for the wall, as well as the labour to install it, if you were the one to put it up. But what if the wall was original to the house? Or if it was somehow unique and requiring expert craftsmanship to replace, such as in the case of dry stone walls?
Beyond the collapsed wall, are there any other damages, such as to your lawn or garden ornaments? Give some thought to how you would value your plants and grass, seeds, and the time it would take to restore your garden back to its original form.
Does home insurance cover falling trees?
Yes. Whether your own or your neighbour’s tree falls on your property, you deal with it via your own home insurance. This is because the factors which likely led to the tree falling are insurable risks.
Trees can fall for any number of reasons, including:
- High winds
- Tree disease
- Subsidence and ground heave
- Poor maintenance (i.e. failing to trim branches)
All of these will fall under your home insurance. If it was your neighbour’s tree which fell and caused damage to your garden wall, your insurance provider will seek repayment from your neighbour’s insurance. Essentially, they will process your claim and then chase up your neighbour for reimbursement.
If, on the other hand, the tree fell due to some risk that was not insurable – for example, due to your neighbour’s negligence or maliciousness – your neighbour will be liable. Unless they have substantial cover, they will need to pay for all damages out of pocket.
If someone crashes into my garden wall, will my insurance cover it?
Yes. If someone crashes their vehicle into your garden wall, 99.9% of the time it will either be their fault, another driver’s fault, or because of an insured risk such as a storm or fire.
Always inform the Gardai if someone crashes into your property, especially if the driver or drivers fled the scene after the collision.
In Ireland, standard homeowners policies also cover damage due to wind, rain or hail. But they don’t generally cover damage thanks to earthquakes, volcanoes and – perhaps more controversially – floods. So, if your garden wall is damaged by a flood, you need to check your home insurance policy thoroughly before you try to make a claim.
Unfortunately, most home insurance doesn’t cover damage caused by wild animals or pets. In Ireland, it’s not very likely your wall will be knocked over by an escaped zoo, but it is significantly more likely that burrowing animals may cause disturbance to the soil under the wall, eventually leading to its falling over. In other cases, deer can damage fences and walls.
Again, significant damage to a wall due to animals will be extremely rare, but it’s worth knowing where you stand with your insurance. Give us a call with any of your questions. You can contact us between 8.30am and 5.30pm Mon-Fri on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.