Fallen Trees From A Wind Storm: How Your Ontario Home Insurance Will Likely Respond
After the recent thunderstorm in southern Ontario, you may be wondering whether insurance will cover damage caused by fallen trees. Depending on what caused the tree to fall, your insurer may or may not cover damages.
But in all situations in this blog post, the extent of coverage typically depends on whether the fallen tree was caused by weather or the neglect of the property owner. This is because insurance companies expect you to remove dead or rotting trees before they cause any damage.
We will answer the most asked questions on what you should do after a tree falls.
Will my insurance cover damages to my property caused by a fallen tree?
A typical home insurance policy will likely cover you if a healthy tree falls due to weather and damages your property. Still, you will also need to consider whether it is worth making a claim. Think about the cost to repair damages versus the cost of your deductible. And remember that your rate may increase after making a claim.
Will my insurance cover tree removal if it falls and doesn't damage property?
If a tree falls and doesn’t cause any damage to your property, your insurer will typically not cover tree removal. But, if it falls and blocks your driveway, some insurers may cover the removal cost. Call your broker for advice.
What if the tree was on my neighbour’s property?
If the cause of the fall is weather-related, your insurance provider may cover damages to your house and other structures on your property.
However, the same conditions apply if the fallen tree is found to have been neglected by your neighbour. In this case, you can file a claim on their home insurance liability coverage. Doing this will get them to pay you the actual cash value.
If you want to get the full replacement cost, you will need to file a claim under your own insurance company. Your insurer will then go against your neighbour’s insurer to cover the difference so you can get the full replacement cost. The down side of this is that filing a claim on your own insurance will likely cause a spike on your rates.
Am I responsible for damages if a tree on my property falls and damages my neighbour’s property?
You will be responsible for damages if the fallen tree on your property has been neglected. On the other hand, if the tree is healthy and falls due to wind or anything weather-related, they will likely have to file a claim through their insurer.
Will insurance cover damages to my car caused by a fallen tree?
It is unlikely that your home insurance will cover damages to your car caused by a fallen tree. That’s where your auto insurance comes in—they may help you pay for repairs if you have comprehensive coverage.
What if a tree on my property falls and damages my neighbour’s car?
In this case, your neighbour can file a claim on their auto insurance if they have comprehensive coverage. If they don’t, they can ask to claim third-party liability on your home insurance. This will likely increase your premium.
If the fallen tree is healthy but cracked due to a storm, you don’t need to do anything. But if you are found to have been negligent, then your neighbour can file a lawsuit.
How to prevent trees from falling and damaging your property
Though your insurance may cover damages to your property in some situations, it’s always best to perform regular maintenance on your property. You can start by cutting off dead, cracked, or decaying branches before they become a problem. You can also prune branches that extend to your property from your neighbour’s trees.
Maintaining the trees on your property can be done for free or for a small fee if you decide to hire a professional. Either way, property maintenance is most often cheaper than filing a claim on your insurance.