A wise man once said “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.” But even if you follow that sage advice, your fence may still come down, which might make you wonder “Does home insurance cover a fallen fence?”
The answer, as usual, is it depends on what caused your fence to fall and the particulars of your homeowners policy.
To be clear, homeowners insurance typically covers fences and walls. This protection is found in your other structures coverage, also called Coverage B. However, every policy is different, which means you also have to consider your policy’s language and coverage limits. Plus, most policies have a standard deductible that needs to be met before coverage kicks in.
All of that said, let’s take a look at some common situations that may cause your fence to fall to see what’s typically covered by home insurance. These can give you an idea of how coverage usually works, but you should still read your policy or talk to your agent about your coverage.
Windstorm Blows Your Fence Over
Our first scenario is your fence being blown over by a windstorm. In most instances, homeowners insurance covers wind damage, even when it has named-peril coverage, like an HO2 policy. So in the case of a windstorm, your fallen fence is likely covered.
However, some homeowners may have different deductibles for wind damage, especially if they live in areas prone to hurricanes or tornadoes, namely:
- A hurricane deductible that applies to damage caused by a named storm.
- A wind / hail deductible that applies to damage caused by wind, hail, tornado, or similar events.
As we said, home insurance typically covers windstorms, so most policies include tornado and hurricane insurance coverage. People who have these separate deductibles simply have a different financial obligation for specific types of storms.
A Tree Falls on Your Fence
When a tree falls on your fence, then the question is really whose home insurance policy pays for the damage. Take a look at a few different situations:
Your Tree Falls on Your Fence
If your tree is healthy but somehow falls on your fence and damages it, then your homeowners policy likely covers the damage. However, if your neglect or failure to maintain it causes your tree to fall, then your claim may be denied.
Your Neighbor’s Tree Falls on Your Fence
This one gets a little complicated. Let’s start with a neighbor who neglects their trees to the point that it falls on your fence. In that case, you could probably file a claim on your neighbor’s home insurance. The same goes for damage caused by a neighbor who is pruning their trees. If you file that claim on your policy, then your insurer may look to get compensated by your neighbor’s insurance company.
But what if a giant wind or heavy snow causes your neighbor’s tree to fall on your fence? That’s often a claim for your homeowners policy.
You should also note that some states consider trees on property lines to be both property owners’ responsibility – which means both you and your neighbor could end up bearing the cost.
A Car Crashes Into Your Fence
A car careening through your fence may seem unlikely, but it does happen. When it does, it’s pretty alarming. This situation can be covered by either your home insurance or by the driver’s auto insurance.
Making the claim on the driver’s insurance is often the better option because having fewer claims on your policy helps you lower your home insurance costs. It can even make you eligible for discounts. However, if you can’t collect from the driver, your insurance policy will likely cover your claim.
Your Fence is Vandalized
Vandalism is another distressing situation for homeowners. But whether a vandal spray paints your fence, takes a bat to it, or otherwise wreaks havoc on it, you can usually rest assured that your home insurance policy covers the damage.
Wood Rot Causes a Fallen Fence
Wood rot in a fence is typically only covered when it’s caused by a covered peril.
Clear as mud, right?
Basically, this means that wood rot caused by an event already covered by your home insurance, like a pipe burst, is usually covered. But rot caused by something else, say neglect, usually isn’t. Homeowners have the responsibility to maintain their homes, and that includes fences, so you want to properly treat any outside wood to repel water.
Termites Damage Your Fence
Much like with wood rot, home insurance covers termites in just a couple of unique situations. These are when:
- A covered peril causes an infestation.
- An unknown termite infestation causes a sudden collapse.
However, termite infestations are more likely to appear when a homeowners doesn’t maintain their property or ignores signs of a growing problem. The result? Termite damage to your fence is seldom covered by your home insurance.
How to File a Claim for Fence Damages
If you have fence damage resulting from a covered peril, you can (and should!) file a claim. The sooner you get your claim in motion, the faster your damage can be assessed and fixed. Contact your insurer’s claims center to explain what happened, and make sure to take pictures of the damage to support your claim.