“If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?” Texas homeowners might want to ask “If my neighbor’s tree falls on my house, does my homeowners insurance cover it?” Here is how tree damage impacts your Texas homeowners insurance.
Tree damage can be an ongoing dispute between homeowners due to falling branches on either side of property lines. After a heavy thunderstorm, tree damage can be a very serious concern when large branches or the full trunk falls on your house, garage or fence. An important element of tree hazards is that your homeowners insurance covers both property damage and personal liability. Here are the primary concerns with trees and your homeowners insurance policy:
Tree on my property
Tree on neighbor’s property
Branches on my property
Branches on neighbor’s property
One primary function of your homeowners insurance policy is to cover your “main dwelling structure:” your home. When your tree or branches damage your primary building structure or contents, then your homeowners insurance will cover it after you pay off your deductible. What about your garage, shed and fence?
If your garage is attached to your home, it may qualify for protection with your main dwelling. The detached garages, sheds and fences will be listed under “Other Structures.” Read your homeowners insurance policy carefully to see if these are covered or not. This is likely to be near the end of the insurance document. There may be a cap of 10% on detached structures, like your garage or shed.
When your neighbor’s tree or branches cause damage to your home, then you have the legal right to make a claim on his homeowners insurance policy. This is the second key elements of your insurance coverage: personal liability. It also works the other way when your tree or branches damage your neighbor’s home.
The Texas Watch consumer protection association breaks down most Texas homeowners insurance into different categories: 1. Basic and 2. Comprehensive. For many hazards, the question of coverage will start based on the type of house insurance coverage you have.
Does my Texas landowners insurance cover damage to landscaping, trees and shrubs? This is where the level of your insurance may play a role. “Basic” might not cover landscaping, trees or shrubs, but a more “Comprehensive” policy will. The basic policy might also replace shrubs and trees due to fire, lightning or vandalism. Most insurance policies will cover tree removal up to a certain dollar amount.
Does my Texas home insurance policy cover damage to my foundation, pipes or sewer system caused by tree roots? Once again, it depends on the coverage. Many insurance policies will not cover tree roots or plumbing problems. Some insurance might cover a dramatic or abrupt breakage of your pipes caused by tree roots.
Remember that your Texas homeowners insurance policy is primarily for covering your home and contents. It also covers personal liability where your trees damage other people’s property.