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Homeowners insurance is primarily there to protect the policyholder's home, and it also provides coverage for other structures on the property, including fences. But does homeowners insurance cover fences? Fence damage isn't covered in all situations. Here's a closer look at when homeowners can file a fence damage claim and when insurers won't pay for this.
Here's a look at some common situations where homeowners insurance pays for fence damage:
If a strong thunderstorm or tornado knocks over a fence or knocks a well-maintained tree onto a fence, most insurance companies will cover this as long as there's no wind damage exclusion in the policy terms.
If someone defaces or knocks down a fence belonging to an insured homeowner, insurers will usually pay for it. That's because vandalism is listed as a covered peril in most homeowners policies.
If a neighbor's tree falls on a policyholder's fence, the policyholder can file an insurance claim with their own insurance company. The insurer will likely pay out the claim and may pursue the neighbor for damages. Alternatively, the neighbor might agree to file a claim with their homeowners insurance to cover the costs.
Most states require drivers to carry liability insurance, which pays to repair others' property the driver damages in an accident, among other things. Typically, the driver's policy would cover damages to the fence. But a homeowner may still file a fence damage claim with their insurer. Their insurance company may pay out and go after the driver for reimbursement.
Fence damage isn't covered under homeowners coverage in the following situations:
If a fence isn't properly maintained and falls down or is devoured by termites, the homeowner is generally responsible for paying for the repairs.
Tree damage to a fence isn't always covered. If the tree is on the policyholder's property and was diseased or poorly maintained, insurance companies look at this as a maintenance issue and refuse to cover the fence damage.
Floods and earthquakes are natural disasters, but they're not typically covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. If homeowners want help with fence repairs following one of these disasters, they need to purchase additional insurance. Flood insurance is usually a standalone policy while earthquake insurance may be added as a rider to an existing insurance policy.
Fences are covered under a home insurance policy's other structures coverage. This also protects detached garages, sheds, and more. Items covered under this policy are usually covered up to 10% of the policy's dwelling coverage.
For example, if the home itself is insured for $250,000, the fence and other dwellings on the property would be covered up to $25,000.
Some policies, however, may have different limits. It's always best to read the fine print before purchasing homeowners insurance to understand what is and isn't covered.
Homeowners who need to file a claim for fence damage should begin by taking photos of the damage before they initiate any repairs or remove any debris. Submit these photos to the insurance company. If the homeowner has any receipts showing the cost of the fence, they may want to submit these as well.
Follow the insurance company's instructions for filing a claim. It's usually possible to do this online with most major insurers. But some companies may require homeowners to reach out to an agent by phone to initiate a claim. If the insurance company has a local presence, homeowners may also be able to visit a nearby office to get in-person assistance.
The insurance company will evaluate the claim and may send someone to the home to inspect the damages. It may also ask the homeowner to get estimates for the repairs to help determine the size of the payout. Once the insurer has processed the claim, it will pay the homeowner for the damages.
There are a few things homeowners can do to prevent fence damage if they'd like to avoid these insurance claims:
If the fence was properly maintained and was blown down due to a severe storm, a home insurance policy will most likely cover it. But it depends on the condition of the fence at the time: If the fence was poorly maintained and was rotting away, the homeowner is usually responsible for fixing it.
Yes, most homeowners insurance policies cover wooden fences under its other structures coverage. This protection also insures sheds, detached garages, and other structures on the property apart from the home itself.
Before filing a home insurance claim for fence damage, homeowners should take photos of the damage. They may also want to begin getting estimates for fence repair so they know how much it'll cost. Some insurance companies may ask to see these estimates when deciding how much to pay out for the claim.
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