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Home insurance and tree damage

Home insurance can cover tree damage, but not pruning or damage by tree root. Compare 5+ policies that’ll protect you.

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You should be covered for fallen trees and branches if they're considered an 'act of nature'.

You won't be covered if the tree fell as a result of pruning or for damage by tree roots.

This is how home insurance covers tree damage

The way insurance covers tree damage varies between policies, but generally the following applies:

  • You are covered for falling trees and branches: if a tree or branch falls on your property then you are covered for resulting damage under the "impact" insured event section of the policy. Depending on the policy, this might only be available as an optional extra, and might only cover the cost of removal of debris that actually damaged your home. It typically doesn't cover the costs of digging up and removing tree stumps that remain after a tree falls, or any related landscaping or gardening costs.
  • You are covered for damage to pipes or drains: if tree roots are destroying or blocking them – the insured event is commonly known as 'Escape of liquid'.
  • You are not covered for damage caused tree lopping or pruning: either by yourself or someone who was doing it with your approval.
  • You are not covered for damage caused by tree roots if: tree roots cause damage to your home or its surroundings.

If my neighbour's tree falls on my property, who is responsible?

Your neighbour is generally liable
  • If they have altered the tree in any way – such as removed its roots to repair a driveway.
  • If there is evidence to suggest that they knew the tree was dangerous – for example, an arborist recommended its removal.
  • If the tree is on their property and they have home insurance policy that includes liability cover.
You are generally liable
  • If the tree is solely on or also on your property.
  • If you were responsible for altering the tree – for example tree lopping or pruning.
Storm
Bad weather and storms
These are 'acts of nature' where nobody is liable. This means that, should a storm bring down your neighbour's tree onto your home, you may have to cover the costs, unless you have home insurance.

What happens if my tree roots are causing damage to my neighbour's property?

When dealing with issues with your neighbours, you should always do your best to keep things friendly and resolve things amicably. Ordinarily, damage as a result of tree roots either to you or your neighbour's home is not something that home insurance covers. If this is the case, it may be worth coming to a solution with your neighbour about removing the tree.

However, in some cases, if the tree roots are causing serious harm to your neighbour's home, you may be liable to pay. This can include things like structural damage to the property, such as crushed pipes, damaged roofs and walls or cracked foundations.

If you do have a large tree on your property, you may want to look into getting cover for damage to your home or other's property. Many policies will specifically exclude damage caused by roots so finding cover can be difficult.

What happens if your neighbour's tree roots are causing damage to your property?

If your neighbour's tree roots are damaging your property, it can be difficult to get cover. That's because it's common for insurers not to cover the cost of removing tree stumps and roots still in the ground. However, there are some things you can do:

One symbol

Speak to your neighbour

If the tree roots are doing damage to your property, speak to your neighbour and try to come to an amicable agreement. You might be able to go through their insurance or split the costs 50/50.

Two symbol

Take note of the damage

If you can prove that their tree roots are causing serious damage to your home, they may be liable to pay. This can include things like structural damage to the property, such as crushed pipes, damaged roofs and walls or cracked foundations.

Three symbol

Go through your insurer

You may have to go through your insurer if your neighbour is refusing to pay. If this is the case, you'll need to make sure you are covered. While many insurers do not cover you for the roots of trees, you can find cover, for example, if your pipes or drains are destroyed or blocked by roots under the insured event commonly known as 'Escape of liquid'. This might be an easier option that taking the matter to court.

What are the general exclusions when it comes to tree damage?

General exclusions are restrictions that apply to all cover types, including the liability component.

For example, a common general exclusion is “movement of the earth”. If a tree’s roots undermine your neighbour’s property and end up causing the ground to collapse, you might not be covered by your policy.

Get home insurance that covers tree damage

Name Product Building Cover Contents Cover Fire, Storm & Theft Damage Sum Insured Safeguard Online Discount Cheapest way to pay
Budget Direct Home & Contents Insurance
Optional
Annually
Save 30% on your first year's premium when you purchase a new combined Home & Contents insurance policy online. T&Cs apply.
Youi Building and Contents Insurance
Annually
Get a 20% discount on your contents insurance if you have a car insurance policy with Youi. Excludes NSW & SA CTP green slips. T&Cs apply.
Bendigo Bank Home & Contents Insurance
Fortnightly
Buy a new home or landlord insurance policy by 30 June 2022 and you’ll go into a draw to win $10,000. T&Cs apply.
Qantas Home and Contents Insurance
Optional
Annually
Earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points when you apply. Points awarded will be based on your premium. T&Cs & exclusions apply.
Seniors Top Home & Contents Insurance
Annually
Buy online and save up to 30% on a new home and contents insurance policy. T&Cs apply.
Honey Home & Contents Insurance
Monthly or Annually
Sign up and get free smart sensors (worth $250) to install around the home for accident prevention. T&Cs apply.
Woolworths Comprehensive Building and Contents
Annually
Save up to 20% when you buy a Woolworths Home and Contents insurance policy online. Plus, Everyday Rewards Members will save 10% on their monthly shop. T&Cs apply.
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