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Fallen Trees and Homeowners Insurance Claims with Safeco Insurance

Fallen trees, branches, and debris – oh my! This example is for a Safeco homeowner's policy, be sure to give Pearson & Company Insurance a call at (601)482-6699 to see if your policy differs.

First, let’s talk covered structures. According to our homeowner's insurance policy language, covered structures include the house, fences, driveways, walkways, and other structures. Grass or lawns are not included.

Second, what are some examples of damage? That all depends on the covered structure. Damage to a fence could entail leaning posts or loose rails. While up on a roof, damage could mean loose or marked up shingles. Also, damage to gutters or siding should be considered.

Now that we have that out of the way, what is the actual coverage? If a tree falls on a covered structure and remains on that structure, we’ll pay a reasonable amount to have that tree removed from the structure (chop and drop) to check for damages. If we discover damages to the covered structure and that structure is insured by us, we’ll pay for those damages, PLUS up to $500 to have the tree removed from the premises (debris removal).

It’s important to note the difference between removing a tree that remains on top of a covered structure (chop and drop) and removing a tree or debris that is NOT physically on top of a covered structure (debris removal).

In the case of debris removal, we pay out up to $500 only if there are damages to a covered structure. If there are no damages, unfortunately, we do not pay for debris removal at all.

Example Scenarios

·         Wind causes a tree to fall in the yard, but the tree doesn’t damage a covered structure.

What do we pay out? In this case, there’s no coverage for any removal (unless there’s a special endorsement).

·         Wind causes a tree to initially fall on a fence (considered a covered structure), but it comes to rest in the yard.

What do we pay out? First, because the tree is not still ON the covered structure, there is no need for removing it from a covered structure (chop and drop). Second, we have to check the fence for damage. If there is damage, we pay out for damages and up to $500 for debris removal from the premises. If there is no damage, there is no coverage for debris removal.

·         Wind causes a tree to fall onto a covered structure, and there is damage to the roof.

What do we pay out? All damages to the covered structure are covered. We’d pay to remove the tree from the roof, the full amount of repairs to the roof, and up to $500 to remove the tree from the premises.

Let's take a closer look at how this scenario may play out:

The policy carries a $1,000 deductible and a $500 limit for debris removal. The tree remains on the covered structure, in this case the house, and caused damage to the gutter, siding, and roof.

A vendor is on-site to remove the tree from the home to prevent further damage. They also plan to tarp the roof, as a limb has punctured the roof decking.

Chop and drop (removing tree from home)

$3,000

Tarp

$ 150

Debris removal (large amount of debris from tree)

$2,000

 

A second vendor provides an estimate for the vinyl siding, roof repairs, and gutter repairs:

Siding

$2,500

Roof repair

$1,500

Gutter

$ 200

 

In this scenario, our recap to the customer would look like this:

Chop and drop (removing tree from home)

$3,000

Tarp

$ 150

Tree debris removal $2000, $500 limit applied

$ 500

Siding

$2,500

Roof repair

$1,500

Gutter

$ 200

Total amount of loss
*lessany applicabledeductible

$7,850*

Example scenario only. All statements made are subject to the provisions, exclusions, conditions and limitations of the applicable insurance policy. Please refer to the actual policy for complete details regarding the coverage discussed

Important Reminders

Stump grinding is not considered part of the chop and drop or removal process, so the policy does not cover this expense.

As an additional amount of insurance, we cover trees, shrubs, plants, or lawns on the residence premises for loss, if they are damaged by the following perils: fire or lightning, explosion, riot or civil commotion, aircraft, vehicles not owned or operated by a resident of the premises, vandalism or malicious mischief, and theft. We will pay up to 5 percent of the limit of liability that applies to the dwelling, for all the trees, shrubs, plants, and lawn of the residence. No more than $500 of this limit will be available for any one tree, shrub, or plant. 

For a quote on your home insurance, or for more information on home insurance, please click here to read about Home Insurance.

https://agent.safeco.com/Claims/Pages/Fallen-Trees.aspx

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Pearson & Company Insurance, Inc.
2210 13th Street
Meridian, MS 39301

Phone: 601-482-6699
Fax: 601-482-1526
Email: Hallie@Pearson-Insurance.com
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