As you’re getting your spring garden/landscaping exactly the way you want it, the thought may cross your mind: is this protected? You insure everything else; why not cover your plants, trees, shrubs, equipment, etc.? Well, your homeowners insurance may include some provisions for the outdoors, but you want to be sure you understand exactly what limitations are in place—before anything occurs.
Well, the good news is most homeowners policies (even the standard ones) typically include some coverage to replace damaged plants, trees, shrubs, or other outdoor features. If the damage occurs as the result of lightning, fire, explosion, or vandalism, your policy should help you purchase replacements. However, the limits for these are typically only a percentage of those that apply for your house. So, if you had 5% of your dwelling coverage available, and that’s set for $250,000, you’d have a maximum reimbursement of $12,500. Additionally, you might find maximums set for each plant or tree, usually around $1,000—after you’ve paid your deductible, of course.
While this is helpful for most people, it all really depends on how much you’ve invested in your landscaping. For the removal and replacement of a mature tree, it’s easy to spend several thousand dollars, and if you’ve got exotic species, this may not get you very far when rebuilding your garden. Furthermore, none of these numbers apply to foliage that’s been damaged by natural causes, such as poor weather, or pests. So, you can’t count on this coverage in all situations.
For outbuildings and equipment…
Even if the tree itself isn’t covered, if it falls on top of a roof, or shed, or other structure, that damage should be protected. This can include items inside, like lawnmowers, tools, tractors, etc. Your insurance company may even pay for the removal, if that’s required before it can be repaired. However, if the damage can be traced back to your negligence, or a lack of maintenance, then all of this can go out of the window. For example, if you knew the tree was rotten and had been advised to have it removed, but you just waited for the wind to blow it over instead, then you’re going to have a harder time getting that claim to go through.
It’s possible to increase your landscaping protection limits and, potentially, it’s even advisable when you’ve got a lot of expensive equipment, structures, or even plants. Talk to your agent about exactly what your policy entails, as well as how to incorporate extra protection for the things that are important to you!