Is Debris Removal Covered by Home Insurance - YA

large fallen tree in forest
Debris Removal Covered by Home Insurance

The short answer is usually yes, but read your policy documents and understand what caused the debris to get there in the first place. There should be specific language for debris removal and limits associated within your policy documents. Important: debris removal only kicks in if the cause of damage came from a covered peril.

Example 1: Most all home insurance policies do not include flood coverage. If a flood of water storms through your neighborhood, leaving massive branches or trees piled up in the front yard, the cost to remove that debris would not be covered.

Example 2: If your policy includes coverage for wind damage, and a strong windstorm blows a tree onto your roof and then rolls down the roof into the yard, your policy should cover the damage to repair the roof under Coverage A and the cost to remove the tree up to your debris removal limits. 

What if a tree blows over, but doesn't damage by home?

Falling trees are really tricky in home insurance. To be honest, you usually don't want to file claim if there is no structural damage, as the cost to remove a tree is probably less than $1,000. If there is no other damage to your house, you may not even get paid out by the carrier because of your deductible. In general, we recommend not filing a homeowners claim unless the total damage, including debris removal costs, are more than 3x your deductible.  

The Tricky Part of a Fallen Tree

There are times when a tree falls, does damage, but still will not be covered. Let's say you know one of your large trees in the backyard is rotting and probably won't make it through winter. However, you are busy and don't get around to getting a crew out to take it down pro-actively. A storm comes and the tree cracks near the base and falls onto your roof and eventually ends up on the ground. When the insurance adjuster comes out, he inspects the tree and finds it is full of rot that was very apparent from both the inside and out. In this situation, he may reject the claim because of the negligence on your part of not removing the tree was the real cause of damage, not the average gust of wind that came through.

Just don't hire these guys...

tree cut down, falls on house GIF

Debris removal is always a tricky part of insurance, so make sure to consult your agent or read your policy documents for the exact coverage you have for your property. Hope that helps!

At your service,
Young Alfred