Homeowner’s insurance is there to protect the owner’s home, but it also provides coverage for other household items, including fences. But damage to the fence is not covered in all cases. Here’s a closer look at when homeowners can file a fence damage claim and when insurers won’t cover it.
When does homeowner’s insurance cover fence damage?
Here are some of the situations where homeowner’s insurance covers fence damage:
If a storm or hurricane knocks down a fence or knocks down a well-maintained tree on a fence, most insurance companies cover this as long as there is no wind damage in the policy.
If someone damages or knocks down your fence, insurance companies usually pay. That’s because vandalism is listed as a major problem in most homeowner’s policies.
Damage to the neighbor’s tree
If a neighbor’s property falls on the owner’s fence, the owner can file an insurance claim with their insurance company. The insurer can pay the bill and can go after the neighbor for damages. Alternatively, the neighbor may agree to submit a claim to the homeowner’s insurance to cover the cost.
Many states require drivers to carry liability insurance, which pays for repairs to things a driver damages in an accident, among other things. In many cases, the driver’s license can cause damage to the fence. But a homeowner can still file a claim for fence damage with their insurance. Their insurance company can pay and pursue the driver for reimbursement.
When is fence damage not covered by homeowner’s insurance?
Damage to the fence is not covered by the homeowner in the following cases:
Wear and tear
If the fence is not properly maintained and it falls down or is eaten by termites, then the owner of the house is responsible for paying.
Loss of policyholder value
Damage to the fence is not always fixed. If the tree is on the owner’s property and it was diseased or poorly maintained, insurance companies consider this as a maintenance issue and refuse to cover the damage to the fence.
Flood or earthquake damage
Floods and earthquakes are natural disasters, but they are not covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy. If homeowners want help with fence repairs following one of these disasters, they should purchase additional insurance. Flood insurance is usually standard while earthquake insurance can be added as a rider to existing insurance.
How much does homeowner’s insurance cover fence damage?
Fences are covered by home insurance and other structures. This also protects closed windows, sheds, and more. Items under this policy are usually covered up to 10% of the property’s value.
For example, if the home is insured for $250,000, the fence and other structures on the home may be covered up to $25,000.
Some laws, however, may have different limits. It’s always a good idea to read the fine print before purchasing homeowner’s insurance to understand what is and isn’t covered.
How to write a fence damage claim
Homeowners who need to install a fence damage control should start by taking pictures of the damage before they begin to repair or remove any debris. Send these pictures to the insurance company. If the homeowner has receipts showing the value of the fence, they may also want to send it.
Follow the insurance company’s instructions for filing a claim. It is often possible to do this online with most major insurance companies. But some companies may require homeowners to call an agent over the phone to initiate a complaint. If the insurance company has a local office, homeowners can also go to the nearest office for assistance.
The insurance company will review the claim and may send someone to the home to inspect the damage. It can also ask the landlord to get the statistics of the renovation to help determine the size of the payment. Once the insurance company settles the claim, it will pay the homeowner for the damage.
How to prevent fence damage
There are several things homeowners can do to prevent fence damage if they want to avoid it:
- Keep the fence well. Repair broken or rotten wood as needed.
- Cut back dead branches or cut down diseased trees that may fall over the fence.
- Seal wood fences every few years to prevent rotting.