In most cases, trees come as a welcome addition to our homes, offering privacy, shade or a focal point to landscape our gardens around.
But trees can also wreak all sorts of havoc if they’re standing too close to your property or left to grow out of control. Snapping branches, fallen trees and subsidence caused by tree roots drying out the surrounding land could cause extensive and costly damage to your home.
Find out how John Lewis Home Insurance can help cover the costs of damage, and learn what steps you can take to protect your home.
Are you covered for tree damage?
While some insurance providers will make you pay extra for tree damage cover, John Lewis Building Insurance covers damage to your home caused by trees as standard.
We also provide emergency accommodation if your home is too unsafe to stay in.
Do trees affect your home insurance?
If a nearby tree is thought to pose a particularly high risk, your premium may be adjusted to reflect this.
Properties with a history of subsidence (movement of the ground causing structural damage to your property) or trees that have a height greater than the distance they stand from your home, are examples of such higher-risk scenarios.
What to do if a tree damages your home
Structural damage caused by falling trees, heavy branches or significant subsidence could make your home uninhabitable.
If a tree falls on your home, you should evacuate immediately. Similarly, if a branch heavy enough to cause visible structural damage falls, you should leave the property and call for the fire brigade.
Should your home be unsafe to re-enter, contact your insurer so they can arrange alternative accommodation while the damage is assessed.
What to do if a neighbour's tree damages your home
It is unlikely you’ll be able to claim on a neighbour's insurance policy, even if it's their tree which causes damage to your property. That is unless your neighbour was in some way negligent.
If you’re concerned about potential damage from a neighbour’s tree, you are legally allowed to trim overhanging branches as long as you offer to return them to your neighbour’s garden. However, it’s always best to talk to your neighbour first if you’re worried about a tree on their property.
Trees and subsidence
Not all tree damage is caused by fallen branches. If you have trees growing near your home, they could be causing damage you can’t see.
Subsidence occurs when trees absorb water from the soil, causing the earth to dry out and shrink. This can cause your property’s foundations to sink, leading to costly, structural damage.
Cracking walls and sinking floors can both be signs of subsidence. If you have any concerns about the structure of your property, contact your home insurer immediately.
Which types of trees can cause subsidence?
Ash, willow, elm, poplar and oak trees are all known for causing subsidence issues as they soak up a great deal of water.
If you are concerned about subsidence, it might be worth asking a landscaper to install a root barrier, giving your home some added protection.
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