When Decisions Matter.


Timber!!!! Will Homeowners or Business Insurance Cover Fallen Trees?

Our area has recently experienced several significant storms that have resulted in substantial storm damage. Following these storms, many homeowners and business owners have had to deal with fallen trees and damage to their homes, neighbors’ homes, businesses, and personal property. While many are aware of insurance coverage for common perils like fire or theft, the implications of fallen trees are often overlooked. In this article, we will delve into the importance of having coverage for fallen trees and explore the scenarios where homeowners and commercial insurances may come into play.

There is a Tree Laying in Your Yard, Now What? Coverage for Fallen Trees on the Homeowner’s Property:

When a tree falls on your property due to natural disasters, such as storms, strong winds, or lightning, having the right insurance coverage becomes paramount. Standard homeowners insurance may provide coverage for damage caused by fallen trees, including the removal of debris. Often, coverage for fallen trees is a separate rider to a policy and will need to be specifically purchased as additional coverage from the standard homeowners insurance company. This coverage is usually specific to trees and associated cleanup. However, even when this coverage is purchased by a homeowner, coverage is usually minimal and often comes with a higher, separate deductible for trees.

Coverage for Fallen Trees onto the Homeowner’s Structure:

Homeowners insurance can help homeowners repair structural damage to their homes or outbuildings, such as shed, in the event the structure is damaged by a fallen tree. Such coverage will typically fall within the general policy language of the homeowners policy instead of the tree-specific coverage discussed above. Covered claims are then subject to the homeowner’s deductible under the general homeowners policy.

It is essential to review your policy to understand the limits of coverage and any specific exclusions related to fallen trees. Some policies may have limitations on the amount covered for tree removal or may exclude certain types of trees or causes of damage.

Neighbor’s Tree Falling on a Homeowner’s Property:

A common scenario that a homeowner may face is when a neighbor’s tree falls onto their property. In such cases, determining liability can be complex. Generally, the rule is that the property owner where the tree originally stood is responsible for any damage it causes, even if it falls onto a neighbor’s property. However, if a tree was located on the property line, the question of liability is more complicated to determine.

If your neighbor’s tree damages your home or personal property, your homeowners insurance may still be the primary source of coverage, however. It is advisable to communicate with your neighbor and their insurance company to discuss liability and potential claims.

Coverage for Damaged Personal Property:

In addition to damage to the structure of your home, fallen trees can also cause harm to personal property, such as vehicles. Standard homeowners insurance typically covers personal property, but there may be limitations or deductibles to consider. It is crucial to document the damage and contact your insurance provider promptly to initiate the claims process. Also, it is advisable to contact your auto insurance carrier,

as comprehensive coverage may be available for losses to vehicles (but probably not utility trailers or campers).

Coverage For Businesses:

Identical questions are likely present for business owners if a tree were to fall on their business property. Most commercial insurance policies do not cover tree removal or replacement. If such coverage is provided, it most likely only covers a minimal number of damages. Like homeowners, commercial insurance coverage may – and that’s an ‘oak sized’ may – provide coverage if a tree hits a structure or personal property.

Again, business owners face the same issues as homeowners if a tree from a neighboring property falls on the business property. For many business owners, they may assume that their neighbor will be responsible for contacting their own insurance company to cover the business’ losses. Unfortunately, the opposite will likely prove to be true and a call to the business’ commercial insurance carrier is almost always warranted.

As with any claim, businesses are well advised to take pictures and notes of the damage. Also helpful are pictures of the trees as they existed before the storm.

Why Did the Tree Fall? – It Matters

While homeowners and commercial insurances may cover the fallen tree, associated clean up, and various damages, these insurances will not help or cover the removal of a standing, dangerous, diseased, or dying tree from your property. This is not to be confused with cleanup and tree removal if a tree falls on your house, business or personal property as a result of a storm.

Weather-related or accident-caused losses may be covered by a homeowner or commercial insurance policy, but damages related to trees or portions thereof that fall because they are dead or diseased are typically not covered as they are considered losses due to the property owner’s negligence. If a neighbor’s tree damages one’s property as a result of the neighbor’s negligence and insurance coverage is denied, the damaged owner may have no other option than to file suit to recover the cost of restoration from the neighbor.

Preventive Measures:

While insurance coverage is essential, taking preventive measures can also mitigate the risk of tree-related damage. The following are items that can be addressed prior to the big storm hitting.

· Regularly inspect and maintain trees on your property;

· Trimming branches that pose a potential hazard during severe weather conditions;

· Open communication with neighbors about the condition of trees on or near property lines can also contribute to a proactive approach in preventing damage;

· Understanding your homeowners insurance coverage for fallen trees is vital for safeguarding your home and personal property. Review your policy regularly, be aware of coverage limitations, and take preventive measures to reduce the risk of tree-related damage.

· In the event of a fallen tree, prompt communication with neighbors and insurance providers will help navigate the claims process smoothly.


If you have recently had storm-related damage and require directions as to how to handle your claim or a potential lawsuit, please contact one of Stock and Leader’s attorneys who handles insurance issues and litigation.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Get the latest news and information from the trusted professionals at Stock and Leader delivered straight to your inbox. Select areas of interest below.

Select your area of interest:
  • Select your role:
  • Select your role:
  • Select your role:
  • Select your role:

©2024 Stock and Leader, Attorneys-at-Law.
All Rights Reserved.

Stock and Leader strives to maintain an accessible website compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.