An all-perils homeowners insurance policy covers damage from trees in the event that it happens suddenly and by accident. Claims for damage occurring from trees over a long period of time is likely to be denied.
When purchasing a new insurance policy, the company sends an inspector out to survey the property. If large trees are touching or overhanging the roof, the policy is flagged for cancelation. The homeowner has a certain period of time to correct these discrepancies to remain insured with that carrier.
What Is Covered
The tree itself falls under the general maintenance responsibility of the homeowner. An all-perils insurance policy only provides a small amount of coverage for the actual replacement of landscaping in the event of a loss. Removing and cleaning up tree debris after an insured loss is usually covered by the insurance carrier. Debris that did not cause damage to an insured structure is not covered.
It does not matter who owns the tree. If a neighbor's tree falls on an insured property, the owner whose house was damaged would be responsible for filing a claim with his own insurance carrier. The only cases where a neighbor is responsible for damages are when negligence can be proven.
If a car is parked in the garage and a tree falls on the home, damaging the vehicle, that is not covered under a homeowners insurance policy. Separate car insurance with comprehensive coverage would be needed to repair the vehicle.
Owners can take many steps to prevent trees from damaging a home. Allstate recommends that homeowners prune trees regularly and remove any decaying or damaged limbs. When planting trees, it is best to locate them away from the home and any plumbing, such as septic systems.