large fallen tree in forest
Debris Removal Covered by Home Insurance

The short answer is yes, but check your sub-limit. To understand if you have coverage for this specific event, you must read your policy documents and match the peril to what caused the debris to get there in the first place. There will be a section for debris removal and the coverage limits associated with your policy documents.

Debris removal only kicks in if the cause of damage came from a covered peril.

Example 1: Most 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 a strong windstorm blows a tree onto your roof and then rolls down the roof into the yard, your plan 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 my home?

Falling trees are tricky in home insurance. You usually don't want to file a 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 homeowners claim unless the total damage, including debris removal costs, is more than 3x your deductible.

The Tricky Part of a Fallen Tree

There are times when a tree falls, deals 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.

Try to be pro-active by hiring a contractor to remove any tree with clear indications of rot. Just don't hire these three:

treebuchet 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.

At your service,
Young Alfred