Publish Date: January 2016
Creating a perfectly landscaped yard requires an investment of time, money and effort. But damage to landscaping from events like fires, thefts, or vandalism can quickly undo your hard work.
So if you’re proud of your beautifully landscaped yard, you’ll likely want to know whether homeowners insurance covers your trees, shrubs, and other plants in the event that they are damaged or destroyed.
You may find that homeowners insurance helps protect landscaping in certain situations. Here are some things to consider.
Standard homeowners policies generally help protect trees, shrubs and plants against specific perils such as fire, lightning, explosion, vandalism, riot, theft, and damage caused by someone else's vehicle, according to the American Institute of CPAs.
Homeowners insurance policies typically have limits on how much landscaping coverage is available, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Some homeowners insurance policies limit coverage for landscaping to a percentage of the dwelling protection. In addition, you'll likely find that there are limits set on how much a policy will pay to help replace each tree or shrub.
Keep in mind that there are other risks to landscaping that are typically not covered by homeowners’ insurance. According to the American Institute of CPAs, these risks include damage caused by weather conditions — such as hail, wind, and the weight of ice and snow — and damage caused by insects, pests or diseases.
You'll likely need to pay a deductible, too, before any coverage kicks in. Read your policy or contact your agent to learn the terms and conditions of any landscaping coverage your policy may provide.
Homeowners insurance may help pay for the cost of repairs if your home or another structure, such as a shed or fence, is damaged by a fallen tree.
Homeowners insurance may help protect structures on your property even in situations where it doesn't cover the tree itself. For example, if a tree blows over in a strong wind and damages your shed, insurance would typically not cover the cost of replacing the tree, but it may help pay to repair the shed.
If a tree falls on a structure on your property — a shed or fence, for instance — homeowners insurance may help pay to remove the fallen tree. However, the III says that if a tree falls on your property but doesn’t damage any structures, insurance usually won't cover the cost of clearing away the tree.
It's important to note that insurance likely won't cover damage to structures if the damage was caused by your own negligence or lack of maintenance. For example, if a tree starts to rot on your property, and later falls and hits your house, it’s likely insurance would not cover that loss. But if your neighbor's rotting tree falls and damages your home, your insurer may help cover the damage, the III explains.
Some insurers offer optional coverage that may help provide additional protection for landscaping.
The American Institute of CPAs says that extra coverage may be available to help pay for tree debris removal due to wind, hail, or weight of ice, snow or sleet — even if a tree falls in a storm without hitting a structure. And you may be able to purchase additional insurance to increase your landscaping coverage limits, the III says. To learn more about additional coverage that may help protect your landscaping, talk to your insurance agent.
It's a good idea to understand what your insurance covers — and what it may not — before the unexpected occurs. Read your policy to determine what protections you have in place. Your agent can help answer questions or help you make changes to your coverage.