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Does homeowners insurance cover hurricane damage to my landscape?

As Hurricane season comes upon us, there are many things to consider. One of your concerns may be whether or not your landscaping is covered under your home insurance policy.

It’s no secret, designing an amazing landscape is not cheap. For most homes, it’s more than just a few shrubs and flowering plants. So if a hurricane damages your landscape, will your home insurance policy cover the cost of repairs?

Coverage of landscaping is something you should know about your home insurance policy before hurricane damage occurs. This is especially true if you plan on investing more into your landscape design.

So let’s take a look at how insurance coverage for your lawn and landscape works, and see what coverage your home insurance may offer.

gorgeous home and landscaping in Key West, Florida USA

Does homeowners insurance cover general damage to your landscape?

To answer this question, we need to have a deeper look at what types of damage your home insurance policy covers.

Although policies may vary slightly, in general, home insurance will cover damage to your landscape if it was damaged by any of the following mechanisms:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Explosion, riot or civil commotion
  • Aircraft
  • Vehicles (not owned by you)
  • Vandalism
  • Theft

This means that your homeowners insurance will not cover damage by floods, hail, or wind. As you likely know, for coverage on flood damage, you will need to purchase a separate insurance policy. If your landscaping was damaged by any of the above sources, most home insurance policies will cover your valuable shrubs and trees.

But, it is not that simple.

Any coverage for your landscape which is under your homeowners insurance policy is typically limited to 5 percent of your policy’s value. For example, if your policy is valued at $100,000, coverage for your landscape tops out at $5,000.

That’s not all–coverage on your landscaping may be even more restricted than that. According to Ms. Salvatore, Senior VP and consumer spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute:

“Generally, most insurers will limit the coverage to about $500 for any one tree, shrub or plant. Vegetation grown for business purposes requires a separate business insurance policy…”

So, basic homeowners insurance does cover some of your landscaping for specific risks, but that still doesn’t answer the question at hand.

Will homeowners insurance cover hurricane damage to your landscape?

Homeowners insurance will likely cover the removal cost of a tree which may cause damage to your roof. However, It is unlikely that your basic policy covers your landscape itself against hurricane damage.

Additionally, homeowners insurance will not cover the cost of removing a tree that falls in your yard that doesn’t damage insured property. Worst of all, it will also not cover the cost of replacing any trees that may have fallen, even if they were very valuable.

The bottom line is that whether it is damage to your home, or your landscape, home insurance does not cover damage caused by:

  • Wind
  • Flooding
  • Hail

And of course, wind, flooding, and hail are the three biggest risks your landscaping will face during a hurricane. So if you only have a basic home insurance policy with no endorsements, you likely have no coverage for your landscaping when it comes to hurricane damage. Even if you have flood insurance, it does not cover damage to anything outside of the insured property.

This means that even if flooding completely wipes out your garden beds, it will not be covered by flood insurance. So are there any options if you want to protect your landscape from hurricane damage?

Yes, there are.

How do you insure your landscaping against hurricane damage?

Fortunately, there is insurance for nearly everything in today’s world. So there is certainly a way to ensure your landscaping is covered, though separately from your home insurance policy.

To insure your landscaping for damage caused by wind, flood, and hail, you will need an additional layer of coverage.

Your landscaping can be covered in the form of an endorsement, which is added to your home insurance policy. This type of policy will likely need to be purchased from a specialty insurer.

Your best bet is to reach out to your home insurance provider and see what coverage they offer. If they don’t have an option to cover your landscaping, they will likely have a partner company that can offer you coverage.

Here’s the Bottom Line

If you plan on investing thousands of dollars into your landscape design, you really need to consider getting additional coverage.

Although some policies do provide limited coverage for plants and landscapes, it is typically not enough to cover the full cost of repairing your landscaping if it is damaged. More specifically, there are no basic homeowner insurance policies that cover hurricane damage to your landscape.

Author Bio:
Douglas Dedrick is landscaper with over a decade of experience, and a writer on several topics including lawn care, landscaping, and law. Connect with him at Healing Law where you can find top-rated lawyers in your area.

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