Wind, snow, and ice have all been working hard this winter to bring down trees and branches across the Garden State.
If a tree or branch falls from above and ends up on on your property, insurance coverage is not an automatic.
New Jersey 101.5 reached out to a couple experts for a rundown of what you can expect during downed-tree scenarios caused by weather.
Does insurance cover a tree hitting my house?
No matter where the tree fell from, your home insurance policy should cover damage caused to your home, and the removal of the tree and cleanup.
“The same also holds true for structures on the property — a pool, or a pool house, or a shed, or fences,” said Dave Phillips, a spokesperson for State Farm.
If your tree happens to fall on to your neighbor’s yard, it’s your neighbor’s insurance carrier that will be handling the coverage.
“The only way liability comes into play is if the tree was dying — it was obvious that it was going to come down and you ignored taking care of it,” Phillips said.
In more perilous situations, you may not be able to wait for an adjuster to come to you and assess the damage. Christine O’Brien, president of the Insurance Council of New Jersey, said in any event, you want to take photos of the damage caused by the incident, from as many angles as possible.
“Document the time, take notes, anything that can be helpful for when your insurance company processes the claim, so that they can pay you expeditiously,” O’Brien said.
Can I use insurance to remove a tree from my lawn?
Most likely, your homeowner’s insurance coverage will not include a downed tree or branch that hasn’t caused any damage to a structure.
So it’ll likely end up coming out of your own pocket if you want to remove a massive branch that fell on to your lawn and is simply an inconvenience.
According to O’Brien, your insurance provider may offer an add-on option (aka a rider) to include this type of coverage.
Does insurance cover a tree hitting my car?
Automobile insurance isn’t as all-encompassing as homeowner’s insurance.
You had to have purchased comprehensive auto coverage in order to have protection should a tree or branch damage your car. Comprehensive coverage essentially handles any damage to your vehicle — except for accidents, which are handled by collision coverage.
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Alice J. Roden started working for Trending Insurance News at the end of 2021. Alice grew up in Salt Lake City, UT. A writer with a vast insurance industry background Alice has help with several of the biggest insurance companies. Before joining Trending Insurance News, Alice briefly worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations. She covers home, renters and other property insurance stories.