For those of us in Maryland with a yard to take care of, by the end of summer, your outdoor living spaces are probably looking pretty sharp. You may have spent a lot of time and money on the outcome, but did you know that your homeowner’s policy may value high quality plants, mature trees, and landscaping at just a fraction of what they are worth? Fortunately, there are things that you can do to protect your precious live assets. Here’s more information:
Doesn’t a standard homeowner’s policy cover damage to my landscaping?
In general, trees, plants, and shrubs are covered under a typical homeowner’s insurance policy. However, they are usually covered at a reduced rate (up to 5 percent of the value of the home) and only in specific circumstances. A homeowner’s policy will exclude damage to plants caused by insects, among other things.
When should I insure plants or landscaping separately?
If you own rare, expensive plants, have put a lot of time and effort into your landscaping, have installed an expensive irrigation system, or have any mature trees on your property, you may want to consider raising the limit on your reimbursement coverage or looking into an endorsement that will give you coverage in a wider variety of circumstances.
In addition to extending your homeowner’s policy, are some other ways to protect valuable live assets:
Value Live Assets: Replacing a 100-year-old live oak with something comparable can cost upwards of $50,000. You may not be able to insure mature trees or rare plants to that extent, but starting with an accurate assessment of any special plants will give your insurance company much better information to go on should damage occur.
Maintain Large Trees: It’s important to maintain mature trees on your property for your sake as well as your neighbors’. If a tree you own falls and causes damage to someone else’s property, you could be liable for the damage it causes if the tree fell due to your negligence. Contact an arborist or tree maintenance service to get the best and most appropriate care for your trees.
Winterize Your Garden: To keep your landscaping in great-shape year round, it’s important to winterize your garden and drain your irrigation system each year before the temperature drops enough to cause serious harm. Clear away debris and dead foliage, rake leaves and screen, and mulch or screen in trees and shrubs as necessary.
Plan Well: While nobody wants to lose a beautiful garden or outdoor space, well thought out landscaping can actually provide a line of defense for your home in the event of fire or extreme wind and rain. Work with an experienced landscaper to find the right plants and arrangements to help keep your home safe.
Think Diversity: Using several different species of trees, shrubs and flowers is a simple way to protect your landscaping from pests and diseases, which oftentimes will only attack a single type of plant. Planting a wide variety of species means you won’t have to worry about losing a large portion of your landscaping in the event of an outbreak or infestation.
Questions? Call or contact Consolidated today.