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Winter Storms and Tree Damage: What Your Clients Should Know About Their Coverage

By: Tara Mitchell, IIAT Director of IT and Project Management

In Texas, we are dealing with another “named” winter storm and this time Mara is wreaking havoc on our beautiful trees, snapping, and falling under the weight of ice. It's important to prepare for the potential destruction that ice storms can bring to your property. But did you know that insurance coverage for tree damage caused by these natural disasters is not always guaranteed? Find out what you need to know to protect your home and trees from the harsh realities of an ice storm and the insurance loopholes that might leave you uninsured.

Ice storms can be a real nightmare for homeowners, causing damage to their homes and property. One of the most common forms of damage is to trees, and it's important to know whether your insurance policy covers it.

The answer to this question depends on the type of insurance policy you have. For purposes of this article, we are discussing coverages under a traditional HO-3 form. If you have a standard homeowners insurance policy, it likely covers tree damage caused by ice storms. However, it's important to check the specifics of your policy, as some policies may have exclusions or limit the amount they will pay out.

It's also important to note that if the tree damages your home or another structure on your property, your insurance policy will typically cover the damage to the structure. However, if the tree simply falls on your property and does not cause any damage, it may not be covered by your insurance.

Most likely covered:

  1. Trees that damage your home
  2. Trees that damage your fence or other structures
  3. Trees that block your driveway
  4. Trees that damage your vehicle, if you have comprehensive auto coverage

Most likely not covered:

  1. Trees that fall in your yard without damage to home, fences, structures, or vehicles
  2. Trees that fall and do not block a driveway.

In addition, an allowance for debris removal for each tree, up to an aggregate limit, may be covered under the HO-3 policy.

If you don't have a standard homeowners insurance policy, you may be able to purchase additional coverage for tree damage. For example, you could add an endorsement to your policy that provides coverage for tree damage, or you could purchase a separate policy specifically for tree damage.

If you're concerned about the potential for tree damage during an ice storm, there are steps you can take to protect your property.

  1. Have a professional arborist inspect your trees and remove any that are at risk of falling
  2. Trim branches that are close to your home or power lines and take other precautions to reduce the risk of damage
  3. Move vehicles away from trees when heavy ice is accumulating on tree branches

In conclusion, whether your insurance policy covers tree damage caused by ice storms depends on the specifics of your policy. If you're concerned about the potential for tree damage, it's a good idea to speak with your carrier representatives for details about your coverage.


HO3 Sample

Reminder: Review the carrier’s form and/or reach out to your assigned sales representative or claims liaison for advice.

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Lisa Webb

Director of Advantage Markets