Getting good home insurance is so important to ensure that you are covered in the event of damage to your property or possessions. And many home insurance policies will cover outside structures such as fences but there are some common and clear exclusions about when fences are or aren't covered by homeowners insurance and it can become a bit of a grey area.
If you need fence repairs or a new one erected, you are in safe hands with Fence Forge. We will work with you to ensure that your fence is installed securely and will advise you on how to properly maintain it so that it remains valid under your insurance company policies.
Since fences, gates, hedges, and the like form part of the structure of your property, they will come under your building's insurance rather than your contents. Other structures' coverage will include all of these elements that are outside of the dwelling but still within your property boundaries.
Garden features such as your shed, lawnmower, children's toys, gardening equipment, and garden furniture would come under your contents home insurance coverage.
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In the majority of cases, your homeowners insurance policy will have coverage for your garden structures. And this will include your fencing. But what will it cover exactly? Let's take a look.
Let's get storm damage out of the way first as this is the most thorny issue when it comes to homeowners insurance provider coverage and fences.
Most insurance policies will not cover repairing or replacing a damaged fence caused by a storm or wind and your policy will state that this is specifically excluded. They also won't cover gates that are damaged by the same.
If you have a particularly expensive fence, it is worth checking your homeowners insurance policy to see if this is the case for you and, if necessary, take out specialist insurance to cover and protect your fence.
In cases where your homeowners insurance does cover fences damaged by storms, you will often need to ensure that the fence was properly maintained beforehand. If the fence was already in a state of disrepair due to wear and tear, this will likely invalidate your claim.
If a tree falls on your fence and causes damage, this will be covered by your homeowners policy in some situations but not others.
If the tree fell because of a storm, the damage will likely be excluded and you won't be able to claim.
If your neighbour's tree falls on your fence then you will not be able to claim against your neighbour's insurance company. This is because homeowners insurance only covers damage to your own property.
You may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company, particularly if you can prove that your neighbour was negligent in maintaining the tree. If you have a reasonable relationship with them, they may be willing to negotiate with you and pay your excess.
Your home insurance policy will almost certainly provide coverage for fence damage caused by fire or vandalism. You do need to be careful, however.
Your claim will be invalidated if your negligence contributed to the damage. In the case of a fire, for example, if you left a barbeque burning and it set fire to the fence then you likely won't receive a claim.
And in the case of vandalism, if you left your garden insecure then this could also invalidate your insurance.
If a car crashes into your fence and causes damage, then this is typically covered under the car driver's liability insurance rather than your homeowners insurance. If you can, you should gather as much evidence as possible about the driver and car details, including name, registration number, etc.
Taking photos of the car and damage to your fence is also a very good idea so that you can easily demonstrate the damage that was caused.
If the car accident was a hit-and-run and you can't obtain any details of the car or driver, then you may be able to claim with your homeowners insurance for the damage to your fence.
Subsidence generally isn't covered by homeowners insurance so if you are aware that your home is likely to have subsidence issues that could cause fence damage, it can often be worth adding some specialist coverage.
Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out who is responsible for a garden fence. If you are in any doubt about whether you or your neighbour is responsible for maintaining a fence, you can check the title deeds of your home. These will have symbols that indicate who owns each boundary. If the deeds indicate that you own the boundary, then you are responsible for maintaining and repairing the fence.
In some cases, however, the boundary is shared. In this situation, you will only be able to claim on your homeowners insurance policy for your share of the fence and your neighbour will need to file a claim with their own insurance company for their share.
In many cases, your homeowners insurance policy will only be valid once you have lived in your property as your main dwelling for a set period of time. This is usually either 30 days or 60 days. So if the fence damage occurred before this point, it won't be covered under your insurance.
If you have tenants living in the property, your homeowners insurance company also won't pay out for a damaged fence. In this situation, you would need to obtain landlord's insurance to be covered.
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If your fence has been damaged and you want to find out if it is covered by homeowners insurance, it can be a good idea to get prepared before you contact your insurance provider.
Take a read of your policy to find out what it states about garden fence damage. If you think that your damage might be covered, then it is a good idea to take photos and make detailed notes about the damage before anything is removed.
If you need to make any temporary repairs to make sure your property is safe, then try to discuss this with your insurance company before you make the repairs.
Find out what your excess is. If the fence repairs or replacement would cost less than your excess, it may be worth not making a claim and just going through with the repairs yourself.
Similarly, most policies will have a set limit (often between £1500 and £2000) and if your repairs exceed this amount then you need to be prepared to pay the extra as well as your excess.
Will home insurance cover fences? Yes, in some situations but in every case you will only have a successful claim if your fence was properly maintained before the damage occurred. Your home insurance will replace the old one with a new but they won't if there is clear wear and tear on your damaged fence.
So what should you do? Take the time to schedule fence maintenance into your regular chores. That way if any major damage does happen, you are much more likely to receive an insurance claim.
This will include jobs like:
It can also be a good idea to take photos of your fence now and again so that you can prove that it was well maintained if you ever need to. You can take photos every time you apply preservatives or do any other regular job so that you have clear documentation of the maintenance of your fence.
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So does homeowners insurance cover fences? The answer is: sometimes. It will depend on a variety of factors such as the cause of the damage (storms are usually not covered), whether you were negligent, and whether or not the fence was well maintained prior to the damage.
At Fence Forge, we understand the importance of having a good quality fence and we will ensure that your fence is sturdy and securely in place so that it is less likely to get damaged in the first place. We can also advise you about the best ways of maintaining your fence so that it lasts for longer and so that you are more likely to be covered if you ever do need to make an insurance claim.