The high winds that swept through the south of England in the wake of hurricane Jude at the end of October left a real trail of destruction, much of which involved fallen trees.
We hope you escaped sustaining any damage to your property this time around, but you may be wondering where you stand from an insurance point of view should a tree come down on your land.
The truth is it can vary depending on your particular policy, and on the circumstances surrounding the fall. Here’s a rundown of what you may and may not be covered for.
Where has the Tree Fallen?
If a tree on yours or a neighbour’s land falls onto your house, you will usually be covered on your home buildings and contents insurance for removing it, and for any remedial repair work required and the replacement of any belongings damaged as a result.
If a tree or heavy branch falls onto a garage, shed, decking or any other outside building or structure, you’re likely to be covered too. Fences are a little different: some policies will cover them and some won’t, so check your cover and at the same time take a look to see if you’re covered for removing any fallen trees or branches that are blocking access to your property.
If a tree falls and damages your vehicle, you’ll need to make a claim on your motor insurance rather than your home insurance.
If a tree or large branch falls but doesn’t actually hit anything, you probably won’t be paid out for the costs of removing the debris. Similarly if you are worried about a risky looking tree or branch that’s overhanging your property, you won’t unfortunately be covered for getting rid of it before it causes a problem.
Why did the Tree Fall?
You’ll usually be covered for fallen trees caused by storms and high winds such as hurricane Jude, but you should always check your policy to ensure there are no exemptions, especially if you live in an area prone to such weather or have trees on your land that could potentially fall on yours or neighbouring property.
Trees that have been neglected though are another story. If you don’t take steps to care for the trees on your land, and one or more of them falls or sheds branches as a result causing damage to property or injury to people, you could face serious consequences.
Keeping trees free from dead wood, calling in a tree surgeon to deal with any storm damage or disease that may pose a risk and maintaining trees by having them professionally cut back or pollarded when necessary is vital, because insurers generally will not pay out on claims for damage or injury caused by neglected trees.
A Good Time to Check your Policy
In the aftermath of extreme weather events like hurricane Jude, we think it’s a good time to check your home buildings and contents policies and make yourself aware of precisely what you’re covered for. If you have any queries on a policy arranged through Robert Gerrard, do not hesitate to get in touch for advice: we’re here to help.