As a homeowner, you most likely already have homeowners insurance. Luckily, for the past few years, you haven’t had to make any claims.
That is until a hurricane or powerful summer storm affects your property.
Although you’ve been mindful to check that your windows are able to withstand bad weather, a storm hit and destroyed some of your fence.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Fences?
The short answer is, yes, your homeowner’s insurance policy will most likely cover fence damage caused by high winds, hurricane-force winds, or falling trees and limbs—regardless of the type of fence you have.
Vinyl, wood, and even chain link fences can all be expensive to repair or replace, so it’s good to know that your homeowner’s insurance can help you out if something bad happens.
Let’s see what is and what isn’t covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.
The Benefits of Broad-Range Coverage
Many homeowners choose a broad-range policy, often called an HO-3, or one that has a clear “Other Structures” provision— covering damage to fences or similar structures around your home like detached garages.
In the event of the example that we mentioned above—with the right coverage—this SWFL homeowner’s damaged fencing is protected up to the policy’s defined limits.
For example, if the limit was 10%, a $200,000 policy would cover up to $20,000 worth of damage— meaning that fence damage will be fully covered. Please feel free to call us and we can help you find out if your fence is covered from hurricane damage.
This coverage, however, will vary based on a few different circumstances:
Falling Trees & Storms
Regardless of whether it was your tree that fell on your fence or your neighbor’s tree, if the tree was presumably healthy before the storm or natural damage, the fall should be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. The policy may even cover the costs to remove the tree itself, not just replacing the fencing!
Claims could be denied if the tree was in previously poor shape due to negligence, as it could be ruled as preventable. So if there are any weary, rotting or diseased trees along your fencing, we recommended removing them.
If your neighbor’s neglected tree falls on your fence, your home insurance provider could choose to sue them to recoup the cost of the damage, but it should still ultimately be covered by your policy.
Your policy will not cover overall wear and tear from age, so if your fencing, just like the tree, was neglected prior to the damage, you may be exempt.
The right homeowner’s insurance will protect you against acts of vandalism on the structures of your property too, including your fencing.
Damage from a Collision
Let’s say a drunk driver crashes into your fence. The first thing you should do is file a claim and alert the driver’s car insurance provider, under their property damage liability car insurance plan (which every state requires). This type of damage should also be covered by your homeowner’s insurance, but make sure you go after the offending party before you file a claim against your policy.
This is especially a wise move for collisions into more costly structures, as your homeowner’s insurance might not cover the full damage costs, while the driver’s car property damage coverage should help to meet the total costs of repair.
Your homeowner’s insurance will not cover an accidental collision on your behalf, for example, running your lawn mower into your fence and breaking it.
Fences are Covered According to Legal Precedent
In the case of Nassar v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., the Supreme Court of Texas ruled that a fence attached to a dwelling is part of the dwelling and, therefore, Coverage A. The court relied on the language defining Coverage A which applies to the dwelling “… including structures attached to the dwelling.” These structures may include shutters, awnings, TV antennae, solar panels, satellite dishes, etc. And, according to the court, fences.
So, at least in Texas (and perhaps other states) under comparable facts and circumstances, a fence attached to a dwelling is Coverage A when a precedent-setting court case says so. This is good news for fence owners in Southwest Florida who can rest assured that their fence is covered under their homeowner’s insurance policy.
Understanding your Coverage
In most instances, the right homeowner’s insurance will cover many instances of fence damage.
Do you have specific questions about your unique situation? Give us a call at (239) 210-7700 and talk with someone from our team. Or, request a quick and easy homeowners insurance quote by taking a few minutes to fill out the linked form.
Here at Culbertson Agency, we offer better insurance, no tricks. Reach out today for a free quote and we may be able to help you save money on your homeowner’s insurance.