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You sure like the shade that big oak in your backyard provides on hot days. It seems like you’ve been in your place forever and the tree was there when you moved in. Then one crisp evening a bolt of lightening takes down in one second what Mother Nature took a hundred years to put up. To make things worse, your old friend topples over right on top of your roof.
The good news is your standard homeowners policy will likely cover damage caused by a tree. This is not limited to your main residence and would include a detached garage, a guest house, shed, or anything that is not specifically excluded in your policy. This includes any contents as well. The tree can be felled by natural disaster (windstorm, lightning, etc), but if your tree came down due to neglect, that may not be covered. So if the tree was healthy and trimmed periodically, you’re looking good.
Whether you own the tree or not doesn’t matter as far as filing a claim goes. Especially in cases of a windstorm where branches, bushes and whole trees can be projected from great distances, ownership isn’t something that could be readily assessed.
Of course, if the tree was located on your neighbor’s property, your insurance company may attempt to collect from your neighbor’s insurance company, especially if the tree fell due to poor maintenance. You may be reimbursed for any deductible. If a tree fell on your property but did not damage anything, it is unlikely you will receive anything to pay from removal. Exceptions could be if it is blocking your driveway or some other egress.
As with other policy questions, it is best to sit down with your insurance professional to make sure you are covered for everything you can be. Even thing you didn’t think about (but they did).