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What effect can a tree have on my home insurance?

Posted on: October 20th, 2015

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Have you noticed that every time you enquire about buildings insurance, you will more than likely be asked whether there are any trees within a certain distance of your property? Have you ever wondered why?

Trees are an attractive addition to your garden. They provide privacy and shelter. Yet it is important that you are aware that trees can also have impact on your house insurance.

This is because as well as looking pretty and stopping prying eyes from seeing into your garden, trees and other vegetation that are close to your home can potentially cause subsidence or heave. Falling trees or branches could damage your – or a neighbour’s – property. There is also the issue of third party liability.

What damage can trees do to a property?

Falling trees and branches are usually covered by home insurance policy at standard. To be sure, make sure you check the wording of your policy in case there are any exclusions.

However, although you may think that a falling tree is a major issue, the roots can be far more problematic. As your tree roots grow, they could push through, under or against your property’s external walls or foundations. In addition, trees can remove water from the soil, drying it out and making it shrink. This can then cause the foundations to sink and your building to subside.

Will my home insurance be more expensive?

Homeowners who have trees in close proximity to their property are unlikely to find that their buildings premiums are any more expensive. In addition, it shouldn’t be any more complicated to take out house insurance.

However, you do need to check your policy’s terms and conditions to see if any ‘assumptions’ have been put in place regarding damage caused by trees. You will want to do this before taking out cover to ensure that you meet the provider’s criteria. Otherwise, if something were to happen, you may find that you are not covered.

If your property was damaged through subsidence, it is likely that your home insurance providers will send a loss adjuster to assess the claim and source of the issue. There is a chance that they will request that you remove the tree as a precautionary measure. It is your right to refuse but bear in mind that if there is any subsequent damage, you may be held financially responsible for any repairs.

I am concerned about planting a tree in my garden

If you want to plant a tree, simply make sure it’s as far away from your house as possible. The general rule is that a tree should be planted at least as far away from a building as its full height once it matures.

Also, it is important to remember that every tree is different – some need a lot more water than others. For example, evergreen roots suck up less water than broad-leafed trees. Oak, ash, willow and elm trees require a lot of water to thrive.

Can I just remove a tree if I’m worried it’s too close to my house?

Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. If you removed an established tree in dry ground, you may end up seeing ‘heaving’. This is when the ground around the tree is so used to water being removed that once the tree is no longer there to suck up the excess, it will swell with moisture.

If you are worried about a tree being too close to your home, don’t just try to cut it down or you may end up causing more problems than you fix. Make sure you speak to a qualified tree surgeon to ascertain the risks before making any decision.

We hope you found this article on ‘what effect can a tree have on my home insurance’ useful, if you would like to discuss any aspect of this article then please do not hesitate to call Prince Tree Surgery on 01277 229709.

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