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If my fence fell over after a windstorm blew through, is it covered by my homeowners insurance? The short answer is YES. However, here are a few tips to consider before making that call to the claims department of your home insurance policy.

How does insurance on a home pay damage to a fence? -Most homeowners insurance companies cover fence and roof damage under Actual Cash Value. Which basically means that they will pay you based on the remaining life expectancy of the damaged fence. – I.E. The fence was installed 10 years ago and based on the type of wood used, it has a 20 year lifespan. You make a claim now and the insurance company only pays you based on the 10 years of life left on the fence. 

Will my insurance replace my entire fence after a covered loss?-Insurance companies will only pay to replace the affected or damaged areas of the fence and NOT the entire fence. – In rare occasions the insurance might provide additional funds to make the replaced portions of your fence have the same look and feel as the rest of the fence.

How does the insurance company determine if it is a covered loss? -All homeowners insurance policies are designed to cover damage caused by a Sudden and Accidental act. Such as a car crashing into your fence, a tree falling onto your fence, wind knocking over your fence, a lightning strike, fire damage and with comprehensive type policies, vandalism and theft are covered losses. Insurance will NOT cover anything related to maintenance or the lack thereof. 

What should I do before calling the claims hotline for my home insurance? 

  • 1) Determine what caused the damage to your fence and do whatever possible to stop any further damage (<- this second part is actually the number one responsibility you have to the homeowners insurance company).
  • 2) Figure out if you can remedy the damage yourself and what that cost would be.
  • 3) Look at your homeowners deductible and compare against your repair costs. 
  • 4) Document it all. Take video, pictures and save all the documentation. Whether the insurance paid for it or you did. 

Will my insurance costs increase after a claim is reported or made?-Insurers determine rates based on individual risks. A claim made on a loss where lack of due diligence or lack of maintenance on your part could have prevented or minimized the loss, could certainly result in a rate increase or even a non-renewal. On the other hand, when there is a true accident where your home suffers major damage or it is totaled, the insurance can sometimes remain at the same premium level. 

Be aware that all calls into the insurance company’s claims department are logged and recorded. Meaning that even if the claim did not get paid, the claim will be saved on a claims database for up to 10 years. This database will be accessed by every home insurance company that you apply for in the future. Some companies will question it and it will not affect you, while other companies will consider each $0 claim and other variables to disqualify you from obtaining insurance with them. 

post written by: Domingo Ramos, Insurance Broker, proudly licensed to transact insurance in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Michigan. –

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