Does my insurance cover damage from falling trees?
What if my neighbor’s tree falls on my house?
It doesn’t matter who owns the tree. If there is damage to your property, your insurance policy would cover the loss. However, if the tree that toppled over was diseased or tilting severely and should have been removed or trimmed before the damage occurred, the neighbor could be held liable. Your insurance company will generally pay for your damage and then try to recover the money they paid from the neighbor who owned the tree.
Homeowners insurance policies cover real property. If nothing that was insured was damaged, there is no coverage. That means removing the tree would be done at your expense. This is why homeowners are encouraged to inspect the trees surrounding their homes to be sure they are properly maintained and are healthy enough to stand up to high winds. If a hurricane strikes and many trees are damaged, it may take a while before a crew could reach you – and when the demand is high and resources are limited, the costs of services such as tree removal are often higher.
Typically, losses not covered by insurance or other means can be deducted as a casualty loss on an individual’s federal income taxes. Talk to your tax professional or review IRS publications on calculating casualty losses. The IRS defines a casualty loss as an “identifiable event that is sudden, unexpected, or unusual.”