Monday’s violent storms with fierce winds uprooted trees, sent debris flying, and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of Garden State homes and businesses.

As utility crews continue to work to restore electricity, many Jersey residents are reaching out to their insurance companies to review whether the damage caused by the wicked weather is covered.

“The good news is that between your homeowner’s policy and your auto insurance policy, most damages are covered,” said Christine O'Brien, president of the Insurance Council of New Jersey.

She noted if a storm damages your house and there’s a leak or a partial collapse, “your homeowner’s will cover your roof, your walls, your sheds, your garage, anything that is on the property.”

However she noted water damage caused by a flood will not be covered unless you specifically have flood insurance.

She explained a homeowner’s policy covers your structure, your belongings and the liability if someone gets hurt on our property, but there are several other scenarios that can result from the type of storms that pummeled the Garden State at the beginning of the week.

O’Brien said if a tree in your backyard falls on your property and causes damage, “your homeowner’s policy will cover that damage, your homeowner’s policy most likely will also cover the removal of the debris.”

She was quick to point out that “if your tree falls on your property and does not cause property damage, chances are your homeowner’s may not cover the removal of the debris.”

So what happens if your tree falls on your neighbor’s house?

“Your neighbor’s homeowner’s policy will cover that damage. Everybody’s own homeowner’s policy covers damage to their own structures regardless of how it occurs,” she said.

“If a tree falls on your car and causes damage, most likely your auto insurance will cover it if you have comprehensive coverage.”

O’Brien said if you decided to save money on your premium and you don’t have comprehensive coverage, chances are your auto policy will not cover this kind of damage.

If a tree on your property falls on your neighbor’s car, she said “your neighbor’s auto insurance should still cover the car.”

However, if a tree on your property is rotting and weak and you have done nothing to remove it, you could be liable for the damages that occur.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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