Homeowners insurance protects your home. But what about the property your home sits on? What if your lawn is destroyed during a severe weather event? What if a tree in your yard causes damage to your neighbour’s property?
Mother nature can be cruel at times. It can uproot trees and place them down in not-so-convenient places. It can tear down a fence and toss around lawn ornaments. So what happens when something like this occurs? Here is what you need to know.
Your lawn is almost certainly covered by your home insurance policy. To some extent, at least. Whether or not damage to your yard will be covered depends upon the specifics of your policy. For instance, if your house is protected against fire, then fire damage suffered by your yard will be covered as well. If your home does not have flood protection, then damage to your lawn that is caused by flooding will not be covered.
The dollar value for which your lawn is protected will depend on your policy. How much you are reimbursed, for example, works the same way for your lawn as it does to the structure of your home and/or the contents inside. The amounts will be detailed in your policy, and vary from individual to individual.
If a tree is uprooted and falls on your neighbour’s house, or if your fence is picked up by wind and hurled against the car parked in the next driveway, you may be found liable for damages. If this is the case, your home insurance will cover you, much as it does when someone is injured while on your property.
How liability is determined in such scenarios is not completely straightforward. Take the tree example: sometimes you will be found liable, sometimes not. If the tree that tips over is healthy, then you might be off the hook, since there is nothing you could have done to prevent the accident. If the tree was dead though, it may be determined that you are at fault for not removing it. This scenario is outlined by the Toronto Star right here.
It’s pretty simple advice, but it’s the best way to know what exactly you’re covered for: talk to your insurance provider. Or, talk to your broker. This way you’ll know what is covered, what isn’t and what you can do to limit your risk.