Landscaping is a provision that helps your outer appearance so much, as shrubs, bushes, trees, and other forms of plant life are components of what makes your property look so spectacular. The comforting benefit of homeowners insurance is designed to protect you financially if your landscaping elements undergo damage or complete destruction. After investing time and money into making your yard look so great, many homeowners wonder if their insurance company will pay to replace your lawn, garden, trees, shrubs, and any other outdoor features after an unwanted event takes place.
The answer is generally yes, if the damage falls under the guise of what’s covered under peril. In this blog post, we’ll break down what a covered peril is, tell you how much insurance you may need to pay out, and fill you in on options available if your landscaping offers a few more bells and whistles for visual pop.
When Will My Homeowners Insurance Cover Landscaping and Yard Damage?
Your standard homeowners insurance policy will cover damaged landscaping when the particular event is a covered peril. Here are some examples:
- Lightning episodes
- Damage to your landscaping caused by someone else’s vehicle
You may have an incident where someone steals some of your landscaping or loses control of their vehicle and it causes damage. Your homeowners insurance coverage is in place to protect you against these occurrences. The provisions you enjoy that protect from lightning, vandalism, and fire under your homeowner’s policy will usually extend to your yard.
Weather-related damage is where many exceptions lie, with losses from wind, hail, frigid temps, and the weight of ice and flooding typically not being covered. Insurance companies have recently noticed more damage caused by insects, pests, and disease, which can be protected with an entirely separate flood insurance policy. Much of the confusion surrounding landscaping is pinpointing which aspect of your previously acquired coverage will help you when something goes wrong.
How Much Landscaping Damage Will Be Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance?
If your landscaping damage is due to an event that is covered by an existing policy, the insurer will decide upon the amount it will pay, as it applies to the dwelling limit. If your home has a dwelling limit of $400,000, that’s how much the insurance company will cover if your home, much like an automobile that is totaled, is rendered a complete loss. Most insurance companies will cover damage that occurs to your landscape up to 5% of the total dwelling limit. If your entire drawing had a limit of $300,000, the insuring party would pay up to $15,000 toward cosmetic landscaping loss.
What are the Coverage Limits for Landscaping and Yard Damage?
After there has been theft or the forces of nature have acted upon your landscaping, the covering insurance company isn’t able to just quickly write a check for 5% of the total dwelling limit. There are caps on what will be paid out, which are broken down objectively. A company may cap the amount they’ll pay for any element of landscaping to be removed at 500 or $1000. Every other element of landscaping has another cap, so you as the homeowner may not ride off into the sunset with 100% of the money needed to see your yard back to its healthy state.
The limits of your coverage will vary by the company you use, which makes it crucial for those who have especially well-groomed yards to closely examine their policy before a bad situation occurs. It’s also valuable to find out what local nurseries and landscaping services charge for the kinds of upgrades you want to your lawn before you bid on the work. It’s common for a homeowner to find out that the cost of removing the tree could be more expensive than any policy will cover, or that your coverage could be insufficient to correctly replace the high amount it has taken to render your yard presentable in your eyes.
If you have to pay your deductible before your provider pays the remainder of your bill, you may have to give careful thought to whether the coverage is valuable at all. Another similarity here that exists with auto coverage is that the fewer claims the homeowner has on file, the lower your annual premium to pay will be.
Other Options for Yards and Garden Coverage:
Homeowners who have spent a large amount of money creating their own beautiful oasis have options for increasing the amount of coverage they have. “Yard and garden endorsements” raise the caps set in place by the insurer, but they don’t change the total amount paid out to repair any damage to your landscaping. If your neighbor’s house catches on fire and the havoc spreads to your yard, you will undoubtedly suffer immense damage to your landscaping.
This type of policy does a little bit more than increase coverage caps on plans, as it also will extend the coverage of the tools needed to maintain your area and the machinery used to upkeep the property. If things like tractors, leaf blowers, sprinklers, and lawn mowers suffer an extreme amount of damage, you will have more coverage at your disposal to be able to properly replace these items.
What Steps Should I Take to Make Sure I’m Adequately Covered?
Many homeowners are understandably worried about what could happen if their landscaping is damaged, otherwise compromised, or destroyed. For homeowners of all ages, landscaping is a house characteristic that can give you much pride and enjoyment year-round. Here are some steps that can assure that you have the coverage that will fit your needs and fully protect your investment:
- Check your existing policy to ensure that your landscaping elements are written in. If you are fully covered, read the fine print to see what pre-existing issues and other circumstances could surprise you if something happens.
- Determine how much coverage you have and decide if it would be adequate if full replacement of the landscaping you worked so hard to attain is needed.
- If you are already covered, get in touch with us here at the Alexander Agency of Saint Charles to learn about a yard and garden endorsement.
- If you find a yard and garden endorsement that specifically fits your needs, you can expect to pay an extra $50 to $100 a year for this Peace of Mind and new coverage.
Will This Type of Coverage Cover Groundhog Damage?
We understand that it’s not just the 1980s movie “Caddyshack’s” Gopher and Groundhog problems on the golf course that can cause massive frustration in a well-kept yard! Homeowners insurance will generally not normally cover damage from groundhogs because they are technically considered pests, as are squirrels. If Groundhog damage is covered it will apply only to damage done to the structure of the home and not the plants and trees. Your homeowners insurance policy will cover damage caused by much larger intruders, such as deer or bears.
Landscaping elements are part of the essence and dwelling enrichment that make your home comforting, unique, and appealing. We have enjoyed providing many happy homeowners with the best in homeowners and landscaping coverage here at the Alexander Agency of St Charles and offering a “solid rock” of protection for the boulders and builder’s pride your home exemplifies.