Fences are a valuable, attractive and useful part of your property. Like other infrastructure, however, they are susceptible to damage and disrepair by both natural and human-made causes. General wear and tear is normal over time, which is why you should be diligent about upkeep and regular fence maintenance.
Occasionally, more significant fence damage will occur, though, such as a tree falling on the fence or the structure getting blown over in a windstorm or even getting hit by a moving vehicle. In those situations, property owners could be facing substantial costs to get the fence repaired, which demands an answer to the question, who will pay for the damage?
Many homeowners in the Colorado Springs and Denver region wonder if their homeowners insurance will cover fence repair. The answer may be “yes” in certain circumstances, thanks to the “Other Structures” provision included in many policies.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Fences?
As with almost any homeowners insurance claim, the answer heavily depends on the cause of the damage and the guilty party. It also depends on your overall homeowners insurance policy. You can’t rely on standard policies in Colorado to provide full protection for irregular occurrences or threats to other structures on your property, including fences, gazebos, and sheds. Additionally, if your house or dwelling is not covered for damage caused by falling trees, termite infestation, mold, flooding, or an earthquake, your fence won’t be either.
What Fence Damages Causes are Typically Covered?
When a Tree Damages Your Fence
Most commonly, your house and fence – or “other structure” – is covered if a healthy tree falls on top of it. But if the tree was rotting or diseased because of your negligence, the claim may be denied or reduced.
When the tree is on your neighbor’s property, making you not responsible for its upkeep, your home insurance provider may cover the damage and then sue your neighbor or their insurance policy to recoup the costs. So if your neighbor’s tree fell on your fence, they are liable for the repairs, either directly, or for recouped costs.
Trees along property lines can get a little tricky. In some states, neighbors may be required to each pay 50% of the cost to repair structures damaged by falling trees that were situated where the properties join. If you recognize a threat, or a tree that needs maintenance or removal, the best course of action is talking with your neighbor to get the issue resolved before it causes damage to either your or their property.
When Wind and Hail Damage Your Fence
Wind and hail are also big problems along the Colorado Front Range, accounting for a substantial portion of homeowner’s insurance claims. If your fence is damaged in a storm or by another force of nature, you can file a claim and are likely have the damage covered by your insurer – although some insurance companies try to make wind and hail a separate deductible, especially in Colorado Springs and Denver.
When Your Fence is Vandalized
Additionally, vandalism is another threat generally covered by home insurance policies. Be sure to file a police report for the vandalism to create a paper trail that could help bolster your claim. For some insurance policies, a police report may be required in order to collect on the insurance claim.
When a Vehicle Damages Your Fence
Finally, someone running a vehicle – whether it be their car or a riding lawn mower – into your fence is also a cause of damage commonly covered by homeowners insurance. You may be better off, however, filing against the driver’s property damage liability car insurance, even to help cover costs your own insurance policy won’t cover. If you or a family member were driving the vehicle, you are likely responsible for paying to repair the damage out of pocket.
How Much Damage is Covered?
This is another answer that depends on your plan and the value of your policy’s total coverage. A general rule of thumb, however, is that coverage is capped at a certain percentage of the policy’s total coverage, with 10% being fairly typical. That means if you qualify to make a claim for damage and your total coverage is about $300,000, the insurer will pay only up to $30,000 to repair your broken or decrepit fence.
You can talk to your insurance company about replacement cost coverage for “other structures,” which may increase the price you pay for insurance monthly but will also help you recoup more of the costs if your fence is damaged in a storm, wildfire, or other covered cause.
Getting Coverage for Your Fence
If your property includes a fence or any other structure that required a substantial investment on your part, you should double check with your homeowners insurance provider to ensure the structure is covered and at a desirable level. Ask what sort of policy coverage is available for your privacy or other fence and how it would affect your monthly premium.
“When Your Fence is (and Isn’t) Covered by Your Insurance.” ValuePenguin by LendingTree.com. Accessed online at https://www.valuepenguin.com/2017/03/when-your-fence-and-isnt-covered-your-home-insurance
“Colorado Home Insurance.” HomeownersInsuranceCover.com. Accessed online at https://homeownersinsurancecover.net/colorado/