Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Debris Removal

Your homeowners insurance covers the cost of debris removal in some situations. Often, debris must be removed after a tree falls on a covered structure, such as a house or a shed. Your home insurance covers this eventuality. However, if a tree falls for a reason not related to a covered peril, you may be on your own to pay for removal.

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Debris Removal After a Covered Structure Impact

When you set up a homeowners insurance policy, you elect what structures on your property to cover. Naturally, your house is covered automatically with the policy, including any structures attached to it, such as a garage or porch. Buildings not attached to your domicile, such as an unattached garage, shed, or granny flat, need a separate election to receive coverage. For an extra premium, you can cover all unattached structures on your property.

When debris remains in your yard after a covered peril damages a structure, your homeowners insurance will pay for the removal. The approval of a debris removal claim, in this case, stems from the theory that all expenses related to damage done to the covered structure are part of the policy.

The Debris Must Result From a Covered Peril

Homeowners insurance policies define covered perils as specific instances that result in recoverable damages. Your policy defines covered perils and excludes certain types of events from coverage. When debris remains in your yard due to a covered peril, your insurance company pays for its removal.

Common covered perils include the following:

Wind Damage

Straight-line wind sometimes causes serious damage. For example, during a storm strong winds may blow down trees or rip shingles from a roof. In either case, the debris removal is covered.


Fires can result in enormous devastation, leaving behind debris from damaged structures. The clean-up is covered by your homeowners insurance.


When you see tornado devastation on TV, debris is always in the picture. Tornado damage can leave behind so much debris that simply removing it is a giant expense. Thankfully, homeowners insurance pays for the removal.

Lightning Strikes

Lightning strikes can down even the most mature trees. When the big ones fall, the cleanup can be expensive, often requiring professional services. Because lightning strikes are a covered peril, your insurance policy handles this eventuality.

Debris Not Related to Covered Perils

Sometimes, you are left with debris in your yard that is unrelated to a covered peril. In that case, your homeowners insurance is of no assistance. For example, a tree that falls in your yard because it was diseased and causes no other damage is excluded because tree removal from disease is a maintenance issue.

Flood Debris

While homeowners policies cover water damage from burst pipes, floods from overflowing bodies of water are excluded. Should a river or lagoon overflow into your home and leave debris strewn about, you are responsible for the removal.

However, you can opt to purchase separate flood insurance. If you have this important coverage, then your flood policy will cover the removal of flood-related debris.


Earthquake damage also leaves behind piles of debris. Should one hit your home, the cost of removing it can be ghastly.

While homeowners policies debar earthquake damage claims, separate earthquake policies will cover the costs of debris removal; however, expect to pay very high deductibles.

Debris removal can be expensive when a major disaster strikes. A fire, tornado, or earthquake can leave piles of it on your property, requiring a professional service to remove it. When the debris results from a covered peril, such as a fire, storm damage, or a tree falling on a house, your homeowners insurance pays to remove the remnants.

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