Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Root Damage to a Neighbor’s Property?

There is no doubt that trees are a beautiful addition to any property. However, when trees grow too large and their roots begin to damage nearby properties, things can get ugly quickly. If you are wondering if homeowners insurance will cover the damages caused by your tree’s roots, you are not alone. In this article, we will explore the answer to that question and provide some additional information about homeowners insurance policies and coverage. Spoiler: the answer is… usually!

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The First Step

If your tree’s roots have caused damage to a neighbor’s property, the first thing you should do is contact your homeowners insurance company. They will be able to tell you if the damage is covered under your policy and help you file a claim. If the damage is not covered or if you are required to pay a deductible, you may want to consider reaching out to your neighbor directly to see if they are willing to work with you on a payment plan.

When Is Tree Root Damage to a Neighbor’s Property Covered?

Natural Disasters

Home insurance policies typically cover damages caused by “acts of God” or natural disasters. Since tree root damage is usually caused by inclement weather, it is typically considered an act of God and therefore covered by most homeowners insurance policies. There are some exceptions.

Accidental Damage

In most cases, accidental damage is covered by homeowners insurance policies. This includes damage caused by tree roots. So, if your tree’s roots accidentally damage your neighbor’s property, your homeowners insurance should cover the damages. Proving this type of thing to be an accident can be a little bit tricky.

When Is Tree Root Damage to a Neighbor’s Property Not Covered?

Negligence

If the tree root damage was caused by negligence on your part (i.e., you knew what was going on for a long period of time and did nothing about it), then your homeowners insurance policy may not cover the damages. Insurance adjusters aren’t as forgiving towards gradual damage as they are towards accidental.

Simple Lack of Coverage

It is important to check your homeowners insurance policy to see what is and is not covered. Some policies just plain do not cover damage caused by tree roots, so it is important to be aware of the coverage limitations before assuming that your policy will cover the damages.

What If It’s Not Covered?

If your homeowners insurance policy does not cover tree root damage to a neighbor’s property, you may still be held liable for the damages. This means that you could be sued by your neighbor and be required to pay for the damages out of your own pocket. 

To avoid this, we recommend that you check your home insurance policy carefully to make sure that you are properly covered. You may also want to consider adding an endorsement to your policy that specifically covers tree root damage.

Deductibles

Even if your homeowners insurance policy covers tree root damage to a neighbor’s property, you may still be responsible for paying the deductible. The deductible is the amount of money that you are required to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance company will begin to cover the damages. Just keep this in mind.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, tree root damage is a complicated issue with many variables. By understanding your homeowners insurance policy and knowing what to do in the event that your tree’s roots damage a neighbor’s property, you can help minimize the stress and financial burden that comes with this type of damage. Be sure to check your policy and consult with your agent to be clear about what is and is not covered under your particular policy.

Do you have questions about homeowners insurance policies or coverage? We can help! Contact us today.

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