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Your homeowners insurance policy provides coverage for damage to your landscaping, including your plants, trees and shrubs. Additionally, homeowners insurance policies could pay for a portion of the expense of removing damaged trees from your property if it's caused by a covered peril.
While covered, your landscaping is treated differently than other types of property. Your insurer limits the protection to a percent of your total policy. Also, your policy protects your landscaping from fewer causes of damage than other property.
When does homeowners insurance cover landscaping damage?
Like other types of personal property, your homeowners insurance provides coverage to your landscaping as long as its damaged is caused by a covered peril. However, the list of covered perils that apply to your landscaping is shorter than what generally relates to your other property.
Your lawn and landscaping will have to be damaged by one of the following perils to be eligible for coverage from your homeowners policy:
- Fire or lightning
- Riot or civil commotion
- Theft or vandalism
Your insurance won't safeguard your landscaping for damage caused by hail or wind — two commonly covered perils for your home's structure. However, your insurer may still cover the removal of trees felled by wind. Additionally, your insurance excludes coverage to your landscaping if it's damaged by pests and vermin.
Insurers also won't pay claims due to floods under your homeowners policy, either. Instead you need a separate type of flood insurance policy to cover that.
While some insurance companies include reimbursement for damaged landscaping, while others may only cover the removal of dead plants, shrubs and trees. Additionally, if you use your garden or landscaping for a business purpose, your company will deny payment — even if the cause of the damage is technically covered.
Also note that the landscaping needs to be located on the grounds of your residence to be insurable. You can't maintain a garden in some other location, like a shared community or neighborhood green space, and have it protected by your policy.
How much is your landscaping covered for?
In most homeowners policies, your trees, plants and shrubs are only covered for 5% of your total dwelling limit. Additionally, you won't be able to claim more than $500 of expenses for a single item, even if it's damaged by a covered peril.
For example, with a $500,000 policy, you'd be able to claim up to $2,500 on damage to your landscaping. However, you could only claim $500 of this amount per damaged item. This means that expensive trees and plants you have wouldn't be eligible for coverage if their individual value exceeded $500.
A tighter cap applies for the removal of fallen trees. If a tree falls and damages a structure on the property, or blocks your driveway or another entrance to your home, your insurer could only cover up to $1,000 per removal. In this case, the same $500-per-tree cap applies.
Getting additional coverage for your lawn and garden
If you have extensive and expensive landscaping you can actually purchase additional coverage or an endorsement, that will grant more protection to your plants, shrubs and trees. Typically each plant would get up to $1,000 in coverage rather than $500. You can likely increase that amount as well in some cases.
The endorsement would even extend coverage to any expensive gardening and landscaping tools and machinery you own. Endorsements usually cost around $50 to $100 extra per year, but it will depend on how much coverage you ask for. To get more information about the endorsement you should contact your homeowners insurance agent to hear more about your company's policy.