Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Landscaping Damage?

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Landscaping around your home and property can take a large amount of time and money to get right. You want to be sure that your efforts won’t go to waste, so it’s important that you understand how you can financially protect your landscaping.

Fortunately, standard home insurance policies do cover many elements on the exterior of your home, but there are several exclusions and stipulations of which you need to be aware. 

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Home insurance coverage can allow you to care for free-standing structures, damaged trees and other plants, as well as the equipment you use to maintain it. Of course, the source of the damage determines whether specific items or structures are covered.

“Other Structures” Coverage

Homeowners insurance policies have lists of covered or protected perils that will inform you what damage can be claimed. Your policy will cover landscaping damage caused by vandalism, theft, windstorms, and fires, among other causes.

The free-standing structures that will be covered generally include fences surrounding your property, gazebos, patios, and sheds. In some policies, a pool will qualify as well.

Fallen Trees Coverage

If trees or shrubs fall on your property, any damage to an insured structure on your property will also be covered, including your house itself and those listed under “other structures” coverage. What you might not realize, however, is that the cost to remove those trees and shrubs will be covered as well. 

If a storm causes yard damage that doesn’t affect the house of other insured structure, you’ll have to pay for their removal out-of-pocket. Also, if the tree fall was the result of poor maintenance, such as failing to care for trees that need trimming or are rotting, your insurance will not cover the damage that results. If a neighbor’s fallen tree causes the damage, however, you may be covered and should talk with your insurer to learn more.

Limits to Landscaping Coverage

The coverage limits for landscaping on a standard homeowners insurance policy can be minimal, especially if you’ve had extensive work done on your yard. Most policies have a maximum of “trees, plants, and shrubs” coverage for 5% of the replacement cost coverage of your home. There can be further caveats that no single plant can cost more than $500 to remove or replace.

Many policies will also exclude landscaping damage from pests, hail, and windstorms from coverage. Additionally, as flood insurance need to be purchased separately, water damage to your yard from flooding won’t be covered either. Clearly, there are many stipulations you have to consider to understand what parts of your lawn will actually be covered in the event of extensive damage.

Additional Coverage Options

It’s important that you thoroughly evaluate any policy you have or are considering so you understand if you are getting the coverage you need. If you want additional coverage for your landscaping, most insurers will have a yard and garden endorsement on top of your home insurance policy, which will protect your trees, other plants, and landscaping maintenance appliances, tools, and lawnmowers.

You may also want to consider additional coverage for yard debris removal that can occur as a result of wind, hail, or snowstorms, especially if there is a great risk in your area. Remember, if your home itself or other independent structures aren’t damaged, tree and shrub removal could become a seasonal bill you have to cover. Adding an endorsement for debris removal to your policy could lighten the load of total annual expenditure. 

Consider the potential cost of frequent removals, any policy premium, and the deductible you would pay for any claims, and talk to an insurance agent in your area to help make your decision easier.

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