What happens when that big beautiful tree in your yard turns into a big, terrifying problem? What if a tree fell on your house? If you’re dealing with a tree falling on your house then you’ll need to take action quickly to salvage your roof and home.
When a Tree Falls on Your House: What to Do First
The first step is to always take quick action for the safety of your family and your home. Evacuate your family immediately and once they are secure take steps to shut off the gas and electricity in your home. If you were unable to shut off your utilities as you evacuated your home or you feel unsure about shutting off your gas and electricity then do not re-enter the property. Call 911 and they can send utilities workers and a fire crew to help secure your home in the event a tree falls on it.
If the damage is great enough or makes it dangerous to stay in your home then you’ll want to secure your home. Lock all your windows and doors and take your valuables with you or secure them in your property.
Contact your Home Owners Insurance
Call your home owners insurance as the next step and to start the claims process. If the tree fell on your house (not just on your property) then the typical homeowners insurance policy will help pay for the damage. Remember that you will still be required to pay the deductible amount so make sure to brush up on your policy so you aren’t surprised by what you’ll pay and what insurance covers. To prepare for making a claim take a lot of pictures of the damage, these pictures will be an important part of your insurance claim so make sure to get a picture of everything that was damaged.
Here is a general breakdown of what you can generally expect from a home owners insurance policy in regards to trees falling on your home or property:
|What is Usually Covered by Insurance
|What is NOT Usually Covered by Insurance
|Trees that fall because of wind, fire, lightning, riot, explosion, aircraft, vandalism, theft or a vehicle you do not own.
|Flood or earthquake (these usually require special extra coverage)
|Storm, ice or hail that cause the tree to fall on your house
|Storm, ice of hail that cause the tree to come down on your property but NOT on your house.
|If the tree fell on your property due to the “acts of nature” listed above then your insurance may pay for tree removal expenses even if it didn’t damage your home.
|Trees that fall due to rot and negligence and not having the tree properly removed will often not be covered even if they fall on your house.
|Trees that fall on your house from the neighbors yard (unless negligence on their part can be proven in which case their insurance will take care of it)
|Trees falling on your car will generally not be covered, check with your auto insurance to see if they cover damages to your car.
Repairing Your Home after a Tree Falls on It
Your insurance will either send a claims adjuster to examine your home to determine repair costs or your insurance will ask that you consult 2-3 local contractors to get bids on the repair work needed. Save all your receipts during this process, including the cost of having a contractor board up broken windows, or the cost of a hotel you had to stay in. Communicate with your insurance and understand your policy so all the expenses that can be covered will be covered.
Preventing Tree Damage in the Future
You don’t want to have to pay your deductible and you don’t want to end up with too many claims on your insurance in a given year so it’s best to be preventative about trees on your property. If you know you have old or rotting trees on your land it’s best to take those down rather than let a storm take them down for you. The cost of tree removal is often less than your home owners insurance deductible and is a much smarter and less stressful way to deal with a tree coming down than during a storm.
Pay attention to broken or dead limbs on a tree. If you aren’t sure then you can call in a professional tree inspector who will look for tree splits or cracks in the limbs and changes in the bark to signify a dying or weak tree. Root damage, leaning trees, or trees that have shown signs of sickness like thinning foliage are all signs of a potentially hazardous tree.
Being prepared for emergencies will always make them less chaotic and stressful for you and your family. It’s always a good idea to have a family evacuation plan in place. This can be as simple as ensuring all family members know the best exit routes in your home, have plans for upper story rooms to exit by window if needed, and have a plan for where to meet up.
Keeping “go bags,” which are emergency bags that you can grab quickly as you evacuate your house, will help you feel prepared. Keep your go bags in the garage or a closet where they can be quickly grabbed on your way out of your home. These bags can include first aid kits, a change of clothes, cash, copies of important documents and necessary medication.
What if you Can’t Afford to Repair Your Home After a Tree Fell On It?
Unfortunately there are times when the cost of repairing your home after a tree falls on it is a burden of the homeowner. If your insurance company finds that the tree that fell was rotted and a hazard to your home before the storm took it down then you may find yourself with the full financial burden of repair and tree removal. Perhaps your insurance does cover the damage but only after you pay a high deductible on your end, money you can’t afford right now. If you are facing one of these unique situations and you need a solution quickly then contact Gary with Gary Buys Houses. He is a trusted Real Estate investor who has years of experience buying homes in any condition and buying them for cash. Sell your house to Gary today and close in as little as a week. If you can’t afford to fix your home after a tree has fallen on it then Gary can help, contact him today.