The answer to the question of whether fences are covered by homeowners insurance depends on the provisions of your policy and the cause of damage to the fences. Let us talk about everything there is to know regarding this topic.
Standard homeowners insurance covers the following:
- The dwelling place
- Personal belongings inside the dwelling place
- Detached structures like a garage or a shed
- Living expenses incurred for a temporary hotel stay or when living in other places temporarily if the dwelling place is not livable
Table of Contents
- 1 Fences and home insurance coverage
- 2 When damaged fence is covered by homeowners insurance
- 3 When damaged fence is not covered by homeowners insurance
- 4 Steps in filing for a home insurance claim for a damaged fence
- 5 Filing for the claim
- 6 Important points to remember
Fences and home insurance coverage
Generally, fences fall under the detached or other structures provision of a homeowners insurance. So it is safe to say that yes, it may be covered by your homeowners insurance. But, it still depends on what caused the damage.
When damaged fence is covered by homeowners insurance
Damage to your fences may be covered by your homeowner's insurance if:
- It was taken out by vandals – For example, a neighbor or anybody for that matter goes out of his mind and runs amok. He then destroys your fence and caused damage to it. This may be covered by your homeowner's insurance.
- Storm damages it – there are storms which can be strong enough to destroy your fence. If there is a storm, and your fence gets damaged because of it, then your homeowners insurance can cover it.
- It was damaged by your neighbor’s or other people’s vehicle – If this happens, then your homeowners insurance will pay for its damages. You also have the option of filing a claim on the driver’s property damage liability car insurance.
- Damaged by a healthy tree – there are instances when trees, as healthy as they may be, may break or fall. If this happens and it falls on your fence, then it may be covered by your home insurance.
When damaged fence is not covered by homeowners insurance
Damages to your fence may not be covered by your homeowners insurance if:
- It was taken out intentionally – do not confuse this with taken out by an amok or was vandalized. This refers to when you pull or take out your fence because you are renovating. This is not covered by your homeowners insurance.
- You damage it with your lawn mower or vehicle - if your fence gets damaged by your lawn mower because you are clearing up your garden, or you bump it with your vehicle while backing up, then it will not be covered by your homeowners insurance.
- It is damaged due to natural calamities like flood or earthquake – there is a separate insurance policy for these situations.
- The damage is due to natural causes like fungus, molds, termites, and deterioration due to wear and tear, then it is not covered by your homeowners insurance.
- Damaged by a rotten or diseased tree – in this case, damages to your fence may not be covered by your home insurance. A tree in this condition is foreseen. So it is expected that the tree will fall at any time. If a neighbor’s rotten tree falls on your fence, then they will be accountable for it. Usually, your neighbor will assume 50% of the damage, because of a fence as a boundary between your properties.
Steps in filing for a home insurance claim for a damaged fence
Filing for a homeowners insurance claim in cases where your fence becomes damaged has several steps to follow. Before you can file, you need to do several things first.
It is standard procedure to take pictures of the damages. You need to take pictures on several angles of the damaged area. So before touching it or cleaning it up, take pictures. Make sure the pictures you take will show what caused the damages. For vandalism and car damage (by other people’s car, of course), it may be supported by a police report.
File A Police Report
Police may be filed in cases when your fence was vandalized or damaged by a neighbor’s or other people’s car. This will serve as proof of the incident.
Have the Damage Estimated
Next step is to contact a contractor and have him estimate the damages. If the estimated cost is less than the deductible cost, then it would be better if you paid for the repairs yourself.
Filing for the claim
After you are done taking pictures, filing a police report, and having the damage estimated, you can now go to the filing of claims.
- Contact your insurer or insurance agent. Inform them about the incident. After giving them details of the incident, they will send you forms which you need to fill out for your insurance claim.
- Fill out the said forms and submit it to your insurer. An insurance adjuster will be sent to inspect the damage. He or she will determine what should and should not be covered by your homeowner's insurance plan.
- After the inspection, the insurance adjuster will contact you to inform you of the amount the insurer can give you for the damages. Compare it with the estimate made by the contractor you hired to have the damages estimated before reporting the incident to the insurer. If you feel the amount the insurer is offering you is not enough, then you can negotiate using the contractor’s estimate as a reference for your claim.
- After negotiations, once you and your insurer agree upon the amount, then it is time for them to pay you. Payment may be done if full, meaning the whole amount of the claim will be given to you right away. It may also be done partially, part outright and the balance after the repairs on the damaged fence is done.
Important points to remember
When getting a homeowners insurance, always remember to read all documents before you agree to by signing it. This way you will know what provisions are included in your homeowner’s insurance.
If you find an item or two hard to comprehend, you are advised to ask your agent about it and have it explained to you in simple terms. Understanding your insurance policy properly will help you know your options in cases where you might have to file for a homeowners insurance claim.