What Do I Do if a Tree Falls on My House? 5 Important Steps
Nature has incredible ways of showing its power, and a thunderstorm is one of those occasions. While a thunderstorm is a fascinating phenomenon from the safety of your home, it can cause other misfortunes that can be hazardous and life-threatening. Intense storms and winds can cause trees near your home to collapse and fall on the side of your home or even on your roof. This accident can cause your roof to fall down or severely damage your wall.
If something like this has happened to you, read this article and learn the next steps you must take.
The 5 Steps to Take When a Tree Falls On Your House
1. Take All Safety Precautions
If a tree falls on your house, the first step is to ensure every household member is safe. It is necessary to get everyone away from the tree as far as possible, and if there is a strong storm outside, seek shelter in the neighbor’s house. The number one priority in this situation is the safety of you and your loved ones. It is recommended to create an evacuation plan and stick to it when the situation calls for it. An evacuation plan will help you and your family plan all the best exit routes in case something happens.
It is also wise to have emergency kits stored somewhere in your house where you can easily access them. These kits should contain first aid kits, medication, copies of your documents, and some extra cash.
2. Call 911
Once your family is safe, you can call 911 and explain your situation. It is plausible that a fallen tree took down the electrical lines with it. If this is the case, there is an increased risk of fire or electrical shocks. Do not attempt to fix the situation on your own before the professionals arrive. You will recognize that the electrical lines are down if there is no power in the house. Although sometimes, the power in the home may still be functioning correctly even when the electrical power lines are down, which is why it is important to stay put until the emergency vehicle arrives.
The only thing you can do to prevent further damage is shut off the power in your breaker box if you can access it easily. The emergency services will advise you about your next steps until they arrive at the site.
3. Prevent Further Damage
If the emergency services deem the site safe and free of any risk, you can proceed to assess and prevent further damage to your house. The fallen tree could have damaged your gas lines, and it would be wise to shut off the gas until you are sure they aren’t damaged.
The most common damage that occurs to the home due to a fallen tree is water damage. It is essential to place a tarp over any openings to prevent the water from seeping into your house. Secure the tarp with heavy-duty tape and any loose bricks so that it doesn’t fly away. Leave the roof to a professional contractor and only cover the holes you can safely reach.
If your home is damaged to a point where you cannot live there until repairs are done, make sure to secure any valuables that may be stolen. If only the roof is affected by the fallen tree, lock the doors and close the windows to prevent intruders from going in while you are away.
4. Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you’ve taken all the necessary steps to ensure your family’s safety and prevent further damage, it is time to contact your insurance company and decide on your next steps. Many homeowners get specific policies that cover any damage caused by a fallen tree, so it is always wise to advise your insurance company.
Depending on your particular policy, filing a claim 24 to 48 hours after the accident is often necessary. You may need to provide specific evidence of the accident, such as photos or videos, a list of all the damaged parts or belongings, and an estimate of the damage. You will need to schedule an inspection once the insurance provides you with an adjuster.
In the meantime, the insurance company will probably send a contractor or recommend you get one to cover any exposed areas and prevent water damage. Any permanent repairs should be held off until you agree with your insurer on the amount of your claim.
5. Call Your Contractor
Your next step would be contacting a reliable contractor. This job requires a professional with a trustworthy reputation. If you still need to choose a contractor, choose a reliable one carefully. If you are in a hurry, you may need to go for the first option available, but be careful—take the time to ask around or search for reviews before jumping to any repairs.
How to Prevent Future Issues
While falling trees are a force of nature that you usually cannot predict or prevent, there are some ways you can ensure your safety in the future. You can reduce the risk of having a tree fall on your house if you take care of them properly. Some warning signs of sick or dying trees are a trunk that is leaning, broken branches, and cracks at the base of the trunk.
If you suspect your tree is dying or already dead, it would be best to cut it down before it creates any serious damage.
After carefully following the steps provided above, you can hopefully ensure that this accident goes as smoothly as possible and quickly becomes just a memory. Before you consider any permanent repairs, you should contact your insurance company for a potential claim.
Remember to take careful precautions too and remove any other dead or damaged trees from around your yard.
Featured Image Credit: inray27, Shutterstock