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During the Arizona Monsoon season the winds can be violently ferocious. Downed trees are an all too common occurrence during these wicked storms. Inevitably, someone I know, whether a client or a friend, loses a tree or two and they wonder if their insurance policy will cover the loss.

My answer is: It Depends!

It depends on which insurance company you have and what they've written in their insurance contract that they will cover. I quickly glanced at two insurance companies I represent, Encompass Insurance and Safeco Insurance, and their policies are different in this area of coverage. You must read your policy to learn how you're covered.

Really, when people have a downed tree they're asking two questions. 1) Will my insurance company pay for the debris removal? 2) Will my insurance company replace the tree that was blown down?

The answer to question #1 in simple and general terms is if the tree falls and damages "Building Property We Cover" (think the house), then the insurance company will pay for debris removal of the tree up to a certain dollar limit as stated in the policy. 

For Safeco Insurance, this amount is $500. If the tree just falls in the yard and doesn't damage any building property then you'll bear the cost of removing the tree yourself. It's FUN being a lumberjack for a day! 

Encompass Insurance has broader coverage in this respect. This company will pay up to $2,000 and expands the reasons they'll pay besides just damaging a covered structure. For instance, if a tree falls on the driveway which prohibits cars from passing then they'll pay for debris removal. 

Again, read your policy for clarity on this coverage with your insurance carrier.

The answer to question #2 in simple and general terms is that trees are not covered by the peril of windstorm. Trees, Shrubs, and Other Plants are only covered by 7 perils and windstorm and hail aren't included in the list. If, by chance, your tree was struck by lightning and damaged then this would be a covered peril and you would have coverage. Read your policy to understand the Per Tree limit and whether a deductible applies.

If you have any questions about your policy or you would like an analysis of your coverages I would be glad to sit with you and review your policy in detail. Learning what coverage you have or don't have after an Arizona Monsoon can be frustrating. Take the time, before the next storm, to understand your policy.

Author Richard Morris

Richard Morris, an independent insurance agent in Chandler, Arizona, has been serving and helping Arizona families and businesses with all their insurance needs for over 23 years. Visit his website at http://www.southwestpremierinsuranceagency.com to see all the ways he can help you with your insurance needs or call the office at (480) 336-2707 or toll free at (888) 907-9349. Connect with Rich on Google+ and Twitter.

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