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Don’t Get Blown Away: Your Guide to Windstorm Policies

2013-09-03
By: Advocate Brokerage

Just as all men are not created equal, so all policies are not created equal. Your insurance policy is a contract, and all coverage is determined by the terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions as set forth in the policy.

If a tree falls on my house, am I covered?

This is a question asked of us every time there is a major windstorm. It is also one of the most frequent questions the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) receives from consumers each year.Image

“The answer is quite straightforward,” said Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the I.I.I. “If a tree hits a home or other insured structure such as a detached garage, standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for the damage the tree does to the structure and the contents within it. This includes trees felled by a windstorm, hail, weight of ice, snow or sleet.”

Furthermore, it doesn’t matter whether or not a tree was actually growing on your property; if it lands on your home, you should file a claim with your insurance company. After a hurricane or windstorm trees, shrubs and branches can become projectiles capable of traveling significant distances. Insurance companies do not waste time trying to locate exactly where the tree originally lived.

“In some situations where the felled tree was located on a neighbor’s property, the policyholder’s insurance company may try to collect from a neighbor’s insurance company in a process called subrogation. This sometimes occurs if the tree was in poor health or not properly maintained. If the insurer is successful, you may be reimbursed for the deductible,” says Salvatore.

If a tree hits an insured structure, there is also coverage for the cost of removing the tree, generally up to about $500 to $1,000, depending on the insurer and the type of policy purchased. If the fallen tree did not hit an insured structure, there is generally no coverage for tree debris removal; however, some insurance companies may pay for the cost of removing it if the felled tree blocks a driveway or a ramp designed to assist the handicapped.

Cars damaged or destroyed by falling trees are covered under the comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy.

With Advocate, we make sure you’re covered–no matter how hard the wind blows!

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