If you own a house, you’ve probably done some landscaping. You likely have a lawn, and maybe some trees, shrubs, or a garden. You also likely have a fence around all or part of your property. Did you know that these items may be covered by your home insurance policy? How much does it cost to replace a tree hit by lightning, or even just to have the debris removed from your yard? It can be very expensive, and isn’t something most of us think about until it actually happens.
How much coverage is provided?
Most home insurance policies allow you to apply a portion of the coverage on your house to outdoor trees, shrubs, lawns, etc. It’s usually limited to 5% of the coverage on the house, to a maximum of $1,000 for any one tree/shrub, including the removal of the debris. Most policies have not only a per-item limit but also a per-incident limit. Unfortunately, if your whole house burns down, you may need all the available coverage to replace it, leaving you nothing for landscaping.
What types of perils are covered?
Home insurance policies often limit coverage for landscaping to damage caused by certain perils, such as fire, lightning, explosion, theft, impact by aircraft or land vehicle, riot, vandalism or malicious acts. This means if your tree blows down in a windstorm, you would have no coverage for either the removal or replacement of the tree itself. In addition, things like loss or damage due to drought, disease, water, or the weight or ice or snow may also be excluded. So although you have some coverage on your home insurance policy, you can see that it may be quite limited.
What about gardening equipment?
There’s a lot of equipment that goes along with keeping up a yard: lawnmowers, snowblowers, sprinklers, rakes, rototillers, and more. Some policies provide coverage, and some don’t. The best thing to do is check your policy wording, or talk to your agent, to make sure you have coverage for all of your landscaping tools.
How is Square One different?
At Square One, instead of applying a percentage of your building insurance to cover landscaping, we allow you to select the amount of coverage you need with our landscaping, fences and gardening equipment coverage. The best news is this will be in addition to your building coverage, and not a portion of it. In the event that you do experience a total loss to your home, for example, due to a fire, it is reasonable to assume that your fence, grass, and any other landscaping would also have been destroyed. In this scenario, you would have coverage to replace those types of items to the limit on the policy, which you get to choose.
For customers who have invested serious time and funds into a garden, you can select a limit as high as $100,000 to give you peace of mind that your investment will be protected. Often clients will underestimate the value of their fence, and lawn, so it is a good idea to get an estimate of the replacement cost to make sure the limit of coverage you are selecting will be sufficient. A home repair or gardening center should be able to help you with determining the cost of this if you are not sure how to estimate this yourself, or you could ask a landscaper or arborist.
You will also want to confirm what is defined as landscaping under your policy. At Square One, we consider retaining walls, rockeries, and any permanent ornamental structures as part of this definition, along with your expected trees, shrubs and lawn.
You would also want to keep in mind that any damage to structures caused by landscaping, for example, a tree that falls onto a shed or gazebo, would need to have separate coverage. On a Square One policy, those types of structures would be classified as detached structures, and this is a category where you can also customize your limit of coverage.
Finally, as mentioned above, there are still some limitations concerning the types of perils that are covered, so be sure to read your policy wordings and discuss your coverage with your home insurance provider. Please feel free to contact Square One at 1.855.331.6933 if you have any additional questions.