Summer is upon us, which means we can expect hot temperatures and stormy weather. Unfortunately, these storms can potentially bring destructive wind, rain, lightning, and hail. The right home insurance policy can help you cover the costs of repairing any unexpected damages to your house, but what about for things surrounding your home, such as gardens and trees? We uncover insurance answers to these questions and provide some options for protecting your outside oasis.
Does your Home Insurance Cover Your Trees and Gardens?
This is an important question to ask your broker as insurance coverage varies from one insurance provider to another. Certain coverage considers plants, shrubs, and trees as part of your property and weather related damage is covered under your home insurance policy. On the other hand, you can purchase “add-on” policies specific to your garden and trees. In an effort to best meet your needs, discuss with your broker and keep the following considerations in mind:
- What will the cost of the deductible be if you have to claim damage to your garden and trees?
It is best to assess the potential damage and weigh against the costs of replacing the plants yourself or paying the deductible and pursuing a claim. Be sure to keep receipts and document with pictures in the event a claim needs to be made. Unfortunately, this may not be realistic in older communities where the trees have been there since the houses were built.
- Will the policy cover the market value or replacement value of your garden and trees?
Depending on the age of the tree, it’s helpful to know how your insurance provider will calculate the replacement value of a mature tree. A claims adjuster would work with an arborist to assess the size, species (or classification), condition, and location of the tree. These factors would help the arborist to determine a value for the tree, which would then be used by the insurance company to pay cash value for the tree or replacement. It’s important to note, you may not be compensated for the time and effort you put into helping your gardens reach their full potential.
Knowing that summer storms are inevitable, we offer a few protective measures to minimize damage to your garden and trees.
Protecting Your Trees
A mature tree that is close to your home poses multiple hazards if struck by lightning. The tree could break and fall on your roof, catch on fire, and / or transfer the lightning’s charge from the tree to your house. The good news is that your home insurance policy is designed to provide compensation for damages caused by trees that impact your home, but maybe not the tree itself. Thankfully, there are tree protection systems available. A professionally installed system is designed to transfer the charge of the lightning to the ground thereby minimizing the effects to the tree. However, it is important to note that tree protection systems do not guarantee safety and there are still risks to a nearby person or object. Find out more about potential lightning hazards from Environment Canada.
Protecting Your Gardens
If you are fortunate enough to have a greenhouse, it’s important to mention it to your insurance broker to ensure that your insurance policy provides adequate coverage. . If you’ve got a knack with tools, you could build a raised cover that shelters the plants from above. The challenge is devising something that protects your plants from inclement weather but can be removed when the weather returns to normal. Be sure to use materials that won’t buckle under the pressure of strong winds. A quick search online can provide examples of solutions. Ultimately, a little forethought can go a long way to preserving your garden and allow you to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labour.
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