Will My Home Insurance Cover a Tree Falling on My House?
Caeva O'Callaghan | May 19th, 2020
Yes – it will. Your buildings and contents are covered under a standard house insurance policy. Read on to discover ways you can protect your property and avoid making a claim.
If, during a violent storm, a tree falls on your property and damages your house or outbuildings, your home insurance will cover you. Not only will your insurance help pay for repairs and replacements, but they’ll also cover the cost of removing the fallen tree and debris.
The contents of the part of your property, however, may not always be covered. As usual, it’s best to check your policy before you renew.
In this article, we’ll answer questions like:
- Will my home insurance pay for fallen trees?
- My roof is leaking during a storm – will my insurance cover it?
- A falling tree destroyed an outbuilding – am I covered?
Your standard home insurance policy should have adequate buildings and contents cover. This means if there is a storm or an old tree keels over on your house, your insurance will help pay for it.
Risks of trees surrounding your property
Having trees close to your home isn’t a great idea for a number of reasons. Large tree roots can cause ground heave and subsidence, which are some of the costliest home disasters to repair. In addition, large branches and falling debris can pose a real risk to roofs.
A falling branch can punch a hole right through any roof, letting in water, snow and hail. It may be impossible for you to even physically move the branch yourself if it’s big enough, and it could even do damage to the floors below. Apart from the initial damage done by a falling tree limb, the water which seeps into your home afterwards can cause even worse problems. It’s also very difficult to secure a huge hole in the roof: tarpaulins and goodwill can only do so much.
Your contents are also at risk when a tree falls through your roof. If you’re lucky, the damage will be confined to the roof and attic. Take as many photographs as you can after the initial incident, and then remove all the items you can salvage. It may also be a good idea to move furniture and other items out of any rooms directly below the damage, in case water soaks through the ceiling.
With that in mind, it’s obviously best to prevent such a catastrophe rather than deal with the consequences. Remove any large or soon-to-be-large trees from around your home as soon as possible. Or, at least, employ a good tree surgeon to lop off old, decaying or overhanging branches. The upfront cost will be much more agreeable than dealing with weeks of a leaking roof.
Outbuildings and sheds
Also at risk from falling tree branches are your outbuildings, sheds and garages. These are all covered by your standard home insurance policy. Of course, that’s as long as your provider knows they exist. Anything not on the policy won’t be insured, so never try and cut corners by leaving things out.
All buildings, outbuildings, fences, hedges and decks are covered under your home insurance. As with your home, this also includes removal of the offending branches and debris. This will extend to your contents as well, again provided they’re described accurately on the policy.
However, if you have any livestock, or a horse in your outbuildings, they will not be covered. You’ll need pet or livestock insurance to cover any veterinary bills you might need to pay.
A word about roofs
There is one exception to this broad acceptance of falling trees risk, and that is if your roof is constructed of torch on felt, and if so that it is 5 years old or more. Torch-down roofing, as it is also known, is a flat roof covering solution that involves three layers of modified bitumen (felt) melt-welded onto the roof surface and each other with the use of a blowtorch to create an impenetrable, waterproof seal.
Flat roofs are notoriously difficult to insure, but older torch-felt roofs will already be compromised beyond the scope of normal risk. For this reason, they won’t be insured if a tree falls and causes damage to the buildings, but you may still be able to claim for damaged contents.
Of course, it’s the responsibility of the homeowner and a term and condition of all home insurance policies that the premises must be kept in good repair. If you have an old roof you should replace it to enjoy full coverage from your insurer. You should always take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of the property.