Tell me if this has ever happened to you. It’s a stormy night; you’re sitting by the fire enjoying a good book and sitting next you on the floor is your faithful pet, Buddy, when all of a sudden: !!!!!CRASH!!!!
You rush to the door to see what’s the matter and lo and behold your eighty foot oak tree is lying across your perfectly manicured lawn. Your first thought is, “Did anyone get hurt?” and your second thought is “Does my North Carolina home insurance cover trees?”
The answer is it all depends.
Why did it crash?
The first question that you have to answer is “Why did it crash in the first place”? You need to pull out your home insurance policy that you got when you first signed up with your insurance company and read it to see what perils are covered. Peril is what insurance companies call the stuff that happens to your stuff. An example of a peril is a fire damaging your home.
If the tree was healthy and it fell over because of the wind, hail, or the weight of ice, snow, or sleet you have a pretty good chance you finding coverage in your policy. But again make sure you read your policy or call your insurance agent to ask.
Some other things to consider are was it a healthy tree or a sickly tree. If the tree was healthy you have a better chance of having it covered. If the tree was sick or diseased and you knew about it, then it’s possibly not covered. Remember your North Carolina home insurance policy is not there as your maintenance program; it’s there when something “sudden and accidental” happens. If you have a sick tree that you need to have cut down go ahead and take care of it yourself because if not you could end up paying for something out of pocket yourself.
Did it hit something?
Of course it hit something, it’s always going to hit the ground, but did it hit anything else? If the tree hit your house, or your fence, or your garaged, then it hit what your insurance company will call a Covered Structure. This is very important because this is only one of three ways that you’ll have coverage. This is the most obvious one and the most likely to happen especially with the way homes are built these days in close proximity to one another.
The other two ways involve the tree just hitting the ground, but they are blocking something. The first way is if the tree is blocking your driveway and won’t allow you to get your car out of the garage or driveway. The second is if it blocks a handicap person from getting in and out of a house.
How much money do I get?
This is the real reason that you asked this question because it can be very expensive to remove trees, especially 80 foot tall oak trees, and you may not like the answer.
The answer actually depends upon the kind of home policy that you have. Most home insurance policies are a standard HO-3 policy and those are sold by all North Carolina home insurance companies. The other policy that is sold in North Carolina by fewer insurance companies is called an HE-7 policy.
Most independent insurance agencies like us sell the HE-7 policy because it provides more coverage for you. The Lipstone Insurance Group sells the HE-7 policy to our clients because it provides better protection and at the end of the day that’s what you deserve.
An HO-3 home policy will provide up to $1,000 total and up to $500 per tree and an HE-7 policy will provide up to $2,000 total and up to $1,000 per tree. These amounts are regardless of how many trees crashed on your property. So if 10 trees fall or 2 trees fall the most you’ll get is either $1,000 or $2,000.
My tree hit my car can I file a home insurance claim?
No, your home insurance won’t pay for the damage to your car if a tree hits it. The damage to your car is paid under your Comprehensive, or sometimes called Other Than Collision, coverage on your auto policy. You’ll have to pay your deductible which will range from $0 to $1000.
Often time’s people will ask for Liability Only for their car, but you can keep Comprehensive coverage on it for a very low cost. This is something that you’ll want to talk about with your North Carolina insurance agent.
What else should I think about?
A common question we get is “What happens if one of my trees falls on my neighbors house?” or “What happens if one of my neighbors trees falls on my house?”
If your neighbor’s tree hits your house and it damages it, then you’ll call your North Carolina insurance agent to file a claim. This means that if your tree falls on your neighbor’s house, then your neighbor will call their North Carolina insurance agent to file a claim.
This is when having a nice neighbor works to your benefit, so make sure that you go over and say hi to your neighbor today to avoid talking to them for the first time when the other’s person tree is poking through a kitchen window.
That’s a wrap folks!
I want to thank you for stopping by today and taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule to learn more about tree removal.
If you have any questions about tree removal that I didn’t answer above please feel free to call me at 919-463-5300 or email me at email@example.com