Insurance coverage when tree growth damages property

When a maintenance item is left unattended, it can lead to further damage, for example when a tree is allowed to continue growing from a downspout. (Photo: KRiemer / Pixabay)

Every claim is different and some insurance policies can be difficult to interpret for unique situations. Interpretation of FC&S expert coverage, the recognized authority on the interpretation and analysis of insurance coverage for the P&C industry, makes it easy to find credible answers to your complex coverage questions. Analysis provided by our FC&S experts.

Editor’s Note: In this week’s cover Q&A, a tree that grew from a downspout damaged the side of the building with its undergrowth.

Question: We have a building insured under form CP 00 10 Building & Personal Property, with form CP 10 30 Cause of Loss Form, edition 04 02. A tree / shrub has taken root in the wall of the building near a downspout rain. The root grew in the middle of the exterior brick wall. The loss was discovered when the exterior part of the brick wall gave way and fell to the ground.

Our initial thought is that there is no cover for this loss. However, when examining the CP 10 30 form, it is difficult for us to determine an applicable exclusion.

Do you see coverage for this loss?

– Kentucky Subscriber

Analysis: It is essential to keep the property properly maintained to avoid the formation of larger problems. Often times, when something breaks or seems out of place on an insured’s property, it is a sign of an underlying problem. For example, broken concrete can be a sign that water is draining under the surface of a broken pipe, falling roof shingles can be a sign of roof damage, and trees growing through it. any property is a sign that they are getting water and nutrients from somewhere.

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Justin D. O'Neill

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