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Debris Removal Primer


This information was developed from the ISO policy. All policies are different, and this primer is intended to be used only as a guide and not to determine coverage.


  • The policy deductible applies to debris removal, usually a percentage deductible but not always; policies differ.
  • Pays for the debris removal of covered property. Any removal due solely to flood not covered. So, if a house is insured for $275,000 and there is $175,000 in damage, that leaves $100,000 for debris removal. No internal limit. If it’s a total loss the policy pays an additional 5% of Coverage A.
  • Pays for removal of trees blown down if they damage a structure like a house or fence. No internal limit to get trees off the house, part of Coverage A.
  • $500 per tree, $1,000 max to remove trees from the property to the dump. No way to increase that.
  • Some adjusters will incorrectly say there is a $500 limit to remove tree from house. No limit to remove from house; it’s part of the repair cost.
  • Trees not covered for wind.
  • Tree blown down in yard, no structure damaged, not covered for removal.
  • If tree is not down but hanging over house or neighbor’s house, no coverage for anything.
  • If a tree was blown down and damaged neighbor’s house or car, policy probably does not pay; likely not negligent.
  • Neighbor’s tree damaged house; house damaged covered, cost to remove from house covered, $500 per tree to haul to the dump.

Commercial Property

  • Pretty much same as homeowners but no $500 per tree to remove from the premises.
  • Same analysis if tree is hanging over neighbor’s business; CGL likely does not respond.


  • Debris removal part of building limit; not additional coverage.
  • Pays for removal of non-owned debris (trees, cars, neighbor’s house debris) that is “in or on” the insured property. In other words, the stuff has to be in/on the house. Not paid if in front yard.
  • Pays for the removal of owned debris, such as walls washed down.
  • If the insured or family member removes debris, the policy pays them an hourly rate at federal minimum wage; keep a time record.
  • Pays $1,000 for the cost of sandbags etc. purchased before flood. If the insured/family filled and stacked, they get federal minimum wage.

Auto Insurance

  • Flood is a covered peril. So, damage to the car is covered if they have “comprehensive” coverage.

Copyright FAIA, October 2018

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