We have had some wicked storms in the northeast the last few years which has brought some of the heaviest winds I have heard. And each year, before a big storm, people call in and ask how their Homeowners Policy covers damage caused by fallen trees. So, per your request, please use this as a guide to answer those questions.
Of course, each policy is different so you still may want to send your agent a quick email or call them on the phone to double check. But generally speaking, what I have seen is the companies offer basically the same coverage.
In order for coverage to kick in there must be 1 of two things (could be both)
Most companies will pay to remove a tree from your walkway, driveway house or other structure regardless of if there is damage. Travelers Insurance, for example, will pay whatever it takes to remove the tree from the structure and place it on the ground. From there, they will pay up to $500 to remove the tree from your property.
The insurance companies will pay for whatever exterior and interior damage that occurred as a result of the fallen tree.
It depends on the cause of damage. Typically the companies will pay, up to a set limit, for the replacement of trees or shrubs as a result of lightning, vandalism or theft but will not pay to replace a tree damaged by wind or water. You would need to pay your deductible if there is coverage.
If your tree falls onto your neighbor’s house then that neighbor should contact their insurance company. Your insurance company WILL NOT pay for damage to your neighbor’s property. Your contract with your insurance company covers only your property. Your insurance company will cover the property you own, not your neighbor’s.
It doesn’t mean you can’t help them with their deductible if you want to be a good neighbor! But you are certainly not obligated to do so.
Same thing, if your neighbor’s tree falls onto your property then you must submit a claim through your insurance company.
The only way that you (or your neighbor) could possibly be liable is if their has been a discussion about a dead tree and a request to cut down that tree. Of course, you better have those discussions documented.
Do you live in PA?