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Homeowners Insurance Can Help With Yard Damage

April 29, 2016
Homeowners Insurance, Insurance
Homeowners Insurance Can Help with Yard Woes
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As a homeowner, chances are you’ve invested considerable money and time in your yard. So it’s only natural to want insurance protection for your outdoor property just as you have for the house itself. The good news is most home insurers offer coverage for your lawn, trees and landscaping — although it doesn’t always cover every scenario.

Along with gassing up the mower and filling the watering can, prepare for the warm season by brushing up on these four ways homeowners insurance can cover your yard.

Repair unattached structures

If a windstorm, fire or other problem covered by your policy damages, say, the fence around your lawn or the gazebo on your patio, repairs are covered under unattached structures coverage. The typical coverage maximum for these cases is 10% of your dwelling protection limit.

Home insurance companies often include coverage for unattached structures in a standard policy. It’s wise to ask your insurer to be sure and to verify exactly which structures are covered — and you can usually add this coverage if it doesn’t come standard.

Remove fallen trees and shrubs that damage your home

Standard home insurance will cover the removal of fallen trees and uprooted shrubs — but only if they hit your house or another insured structure and are knocked over by a problem that your policy covers, such as lightning, wind or hail. Coverage applies whether the tree belonged to you or a neighbor.

Under standard home insurance, coverage limits are typically between $500 and $1,000 to pay for tree or shrub removal. The price to repair your home or insured structure will be covered, too, up to your dwelling coverage limit.

» MORE: Understanding homeowners insurance

Re-scape your damaged landscaping

Depending on the root of the damage, standard home insurance also covers repairs or replacement of trees, shrubs, plants and grass. Problems that home insurance will pay for include:

  • Fire
  • Vandalism
  • Damage by vehicles not owned by the homeowner
  • Lightning
  • Explosions
  • Malicious mischief

The amount of landscape coverage is usually limited to 5% of your dwelling coverage limit. Insurers also tend to cap the amount they’ll pay to replace any one item, like a tree, at about $500 to $1,000. Notably, damage to landscaping from wind, ice and snow, insects and pests is not covered under a standard policy.

Repair or replace damaged or stolen equipment

A great yard starts with the right tools and equipment, many of which don’t come cheap. Fortunately, most items you use to maintain your lawn and garden are covered by home insurance under personal property coverage, along with your other belongings.

If your lawn equipment is stolen or damaged, your policy will reimburse you for the cost to repair or replace it. Your personal property coverage limit is usually set somewhere between 50% and 75% of your dwelling coverage limit.

Shop for homeowners insurance

As you research home insurance policies, remember to check the coverage for your trees, landscaping and the structures on your property such as sheds and fences. Compare quotes from multiple companies to get the most competitive rates.

Alex Glenn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website: Email: [email protected].