How to Insure Your Trees

Wed, September 16, 2015 12:22 PM | Anonymous

During this season’s thunderstorms many older and larger trees became uprooted, such as the tree pictured right located in a Phoenix neighborhood. Insuring trees, which can be great assets for home property values and energy cost savings is an important step to ensure that tree replacement costs are minimal.  Additionally, insurance plans can help cover the costs incurred from repairing property (either yours or your neighbors’) damaged by a fallen tree. Instead of chopping down other trees on your property out of the fear that they might fall and cause expensive damage, make sure that your homeowner’s insurance covers tree damage.  Below are steps you can take to insure your valuable trees and find out if your current coverage includes trees:

1.     Calculate the value of old and large trees.  You can hire an arborist to perform an estimate or use online resources such as this tool and this resource. Remember to take pictures of the tree.

2.     Call your insurance company and request an appraisal of live assets. Live assets insurance can cover, for instance, if a neighbor accidently kills your 80 year old oak tree from chemical fertilizer run-off. Calculating the cost, beforehand, of the tree will increase the chances of receiving fair coverage versus receiving the cost to replace it with a 48" box tree.

3.     Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover tree removal and damage repairs for your home and other insured structures, such as fences, but double check by calling your insurance claims department.  If a tree is not maintained (pruned) and falls due to neglect, you could be responsible for the damages. Read our blog on how to protect your trees from monsoons for tips on keeping trees in good condition.  

4.     Know the policies of your insurance company by calling them or looking them up online, such as sites like this. Generally, most insurers limit the coverage to $500 per tree or 5 percent of the amount of insurance on the structure of the house.

Many times trees damaged during a storm are salvageable if you take the proper steps--read our blog on what to do if your tree gets blown over in a storm or post questions on our ask the arborist forum.  If your tree, however, is damaged beyond repair, insuring your trees can help prevent expensive costs. Removing a tree during the thunderstorm season may seem like a good idea now, but come summer you’ll miss the cooling shade it provides!

Resources:

http://www.vpaaz.wildapricot.org/STBlog/3281178

http://www.vpaaz.wildapricot.org/STBlog/3212453

http://www.americanforests.org/bigtrees/tree-protection-toolkit/calculate-the-value-of-your-tree/

https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/SP614.pdf

http://www.vpaaz.wildapricot.org/STBlog/3482292

http://www.safeco.com/blog-detail/fallen-tree-insurance-coverage/1240026935473 

http://www.iii.org/article/trees-and-insurance

http://www.vpaaz.wildapricot.org/STBlog/3507472

http://www.vpaaz.wildapricot.org/askthearborist

http://limbwalking.com/all-about-trees-and-shrubs/value-of-trees/

http://www.walterreeves.com/landscaping/tree-damage-insurance-claims/(Tree Damage and Insurance Claims) 

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