Will Home Insurance Cover Tree Removal?

September 25, 2023


Home insurance in Ontario is specifically created to cover a homeowner and their family from the financial burden of any unexpected or accidental damages to their property. If something were to happen – say, a storm, a fire, a flood – your home insurance would cover you and protect your property from the consequential damages.

But exactly what home insurance may cover can vary. Home insurance “covered events” are unexpected and defined as situations that a homeowner is generally unable to prepare for. If a perfectly healthy tree comes down on your home, is the removal of it covered? Will home insurance cover the removal of a tree that’s still standing, but is well overdue for removal?

Yes and no. That might sound like a dissatisfying answer but with insurance, it always depends. Let’s get into a couple scenarios where home insurance may or may not cover tree removal.

Scenario A: Windstorm.

Severe weather has been driving up the cost of property losses for decades now, with climate-related weather causing $2.1 billion in insured damage in 2021. If a windstorm strikes your property and causes your otherwise perfectly healthy tree to crash into your roof, causing property damage, then yes. You can almost guarantee that your policy will cover the cost not only to repair the property damage but also the cost to remove the tree.

Other covered perils causing a tree to fall that might be covered include fire, hailstorm, lightning strike, impact by vehicle or aircraft, vandalism, etc. If any of these perils occur, causing your tree to be knocked down or into your property, you would likely be covered.

Climate change impacts your home insurance in many ways. From increasing your premiums to increasing the odds that you might soon experience a natural disaster, we’re seeing more and more property losses as a result of extreme weather. If you notice your trees are getting older or are losing branches/threatening the safety of your roof and home, it might be time to hire a professional to inspect your tree, cut off some older branches, or remove the tree entirely.

Scenario B: Old Tree.

If you notice one of the trees on your property is getting old, or its starting to show signs of structural insecurity, it might be time to schedule a removal. Would this be covered by your home insurance policy? Likely not, since it wasn’t “an accident” and simply a cost of regular home maintenance. If that same tree was not removed in time and ended up falling onto your home as a result of neglect, you’ll also find it won’t be covered. The sooner you take care of the issue, the more money you’ll likely end up saving. If the tree didn’t belong to you and belonged to a neighbour/the city, however, that’s a different matter entirely, and may be covered by your home insurance policy. In a case like this, you may also be reimbursed for your deductible.

Home insurance isn’t mandatory in Ontario – not unless your financial institution requires it per your mortgage agreement – but it’s highly recommended. It can cover your home for unexpected losses, but you should never expect it to cover you for lack of maintenance or issues that could easily have been avoided with a little attention to detail.

Scenario C: No Damage Caused.

Here’s one to think about: what if the tree that fell onto your property, and potentially onto your home, caused no damage? Perhaps it was a light or dying tree that didn’t weigh too much, or it just fell onto your lawn without damaging any property whatsoever. Would that still be covered by insurance? I.e., would the cost to remove it be handled by your insurer?

The answer: if the tree fell because of a covered peril like a lightning strike, maybe. If the cause of the tree falling wasn’t covered, it probably won’t. If the tree toppled without any damage being caused and the peril that caused it to fall wasn’t covered – i.e., it fell due to old age or wear, your insurer wouldn’t be on the hook for covering the debris and cleanup cost. That being said, there are some instances where a homeowner’s insurance policy will clarify the type of costs covered, and it could include the cost to remove the tree. If the whole tree or a portion of it is causing issues, like it’s blocking a driveway or sidewalk, then it might be covered by your insurance.

It’s a little nuanced, so we understand if you’re feeling a bit unsure. Give us a call here at Excalibur Insurance to discuss and go over your policy with you.

Costs Covered if a Tree Falls onto Your Home

Fallen tree removal costs can range between $75 and $150. That’s not a whole lot, when you really think about it, and your deductible is likely to be much, much more than that. There’s variation in costs depending on the complexity of the job and the damage that was done. If the tree is large enough, it might need to be chipped up into pieces before being removed. That may end up costing you extra. Removing a tree that is still alive and in the ground, however, is a lot more expensive, and a large tree removal in a city like Toronto can cost around $1,500.

If, like in scenario A, the tree that fell onto your home was due to a covered peril, you might be covered for the following costs:

  • Repair costs
  • Debris clean-up
  • Tree removal

If your neighbour’s tree or a tree belonging to the city fell onto your property, you would be likely covered for the same costs.

Key takeaways

If the tree has severely devastated the integrity of your home, and the cause was insurable, your home insurance will likely cover both the actual property damage/repair costs and the cost to remove the tree. If a tree fell as a result of a covered peril, but didn’t damage your home, the cost to remove it might be covered. And, finally, if a tree on your property falls due to poor maintenance or neglect, it might not be covered – and removing a tree before it falls generally will never be covered.

Give us a call here at Excalibur Insurance if you still have questions. Our Defenders are happy to make your call with them the best call of your day, whether that’s to break down any nuances about what is/isn’t covered, or to ask questions about your own coverage. If you liked this article, check out the other parts of our series about what home insurance does/doesn’t cover!