What to Do When a Tree Falls on Your House
Updated: Sep 8, 2021
High winds, lightning, hail, and heavy rain often accompany storms in New Jersey. And, in the winter months, we often have damaging hail, snow, or ice accumulation.
Hurricanes present an even greater risk for property damage to occur.
Environmental disasters can cause a tree to fall and damage your house, cars, or property.
You may have seen trees fall in parks or around the neighborhood, but until you have had a tree fall on your house, you probably have not thought twice about what to do if this happens.
Fallen trees account for hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage.
Not only do fall trees and tree limbs damage roofing, but they can also smash windows and cause significant structural damage.
Fallen trees and tree limbs are the biggest culprits of roof damage, so chances are, as a homeowner with any trees on your property, you will experience roof damage from trees at some point.
Being aware of the steps you should take immediately after a tree falls on your home may help save your home from further damage.
You can also mitigate damage to your home by taking a few proactive steps to keep your trees healthy.
Keep reading to see our list of steps to take if a tree falls on your house and what you can do to prevent this from happening.
Leave the House
If you have a tree fall on your house, everyone needs to leave immediately.
If you have a fire evacuation plan, you may choose to use that to safely and efficiently exit the home.
If there are heavy winds or adverse weather in the forecast, prepare a bag with emergency items that you may need to grab in case of catastrophe. You may want to include money and copies of essential documents in the bag.
It is vital to be aware of your surroundings when you are evacuating.
Look for downed electrical lines and broken gas lines.
Even if the damage to your roof does not seem significant, you should not risk your safety by being in the home.
Do not try to determine the damage from the tree on your own.
Once you are a safe distance away from your house, the tree, and any other hazards, call 911.
Do not try to get on the roof, especially if the weather is still unpredictable.
Rain and other weather conditions can make a roof slippery and very dangerous.
You could exacerbate the problem by putting yourself at risk of falling!
After a heavy branch lands on your roof, the weight could damage the structure of your home.
Your roof may be at risk of collapse.
Once you have connected with emergency services, they will tell you what to do next and send out crews to ensure that your home is safe to reenter and that there is no damage, or that the debris has been cleared from around your house.
Contact Your Homeowner’s Insurance Company
First, ensure that your homeowner’s insurance policy covers at least part of storm damage and tree removal.
You can determine this by assessing your insurance policy.
If you’re not sure, then you can call your insurance company to inquire.
Keep in mind that you should maintain the trees on your property correctly.
A neglected tree that falls onto your home could result in your insurance company not covering the damage.
If you knew about a rotten tree before it fell, your insurance company might decline your payout.
For your benefit, take photos of any damages that your home has incurred.
Try to get clear enough photos while maintaining safety protocols.
You should also take photos from a distance to get an idea of the whole picture.
You will want the images for your insurance claim, and they may even help expedite the process.
A Safe Home
If the tree has caused structural damage to your home, you may have to wait for some time to have it repaired.
This means that you might not be able to sleep in your home while the repairs are being made.
It is best to have a contractor or roofer check to see if you can return home to grab essentials like clothing or toiletries.
You should keep your house locked and secure.
If the tree damage broke any windows or doors, have these replaced or boarded up as soon as possible.
For the safety of your family, you should leave the tree removal to a professional.
Laricks Complete Tree Services can help.
With 24 hour service, we have the expertise and equipment needed to remove a damage-causing tree or remove a tree before it has the chance to cause any real damage.
Located in Villas and serving the surrounding areas, we have over eight years of tree services experience.
Call a Professional Tree Service
Besides a contractor or professional roofer, you need to call a professional tree service to survey the tree or limb damage.
A tree that has caused roof damage from falling over may have additional hidden risks.
Tree roots can stretch under your house and wreak havoc on your foundation.
Without a proper assessment, you can’t know the extent of the damage.
A professional tree service can assess a tree to see how far its roots extend, as well as safely removing any fallen tree or limb from your property.
A professional tree service has the proper equipment to remove the tree, limbs, and branches from your roof and property.
How to Make Sure Your Trees are Safe and Healthy
While you can’t guarantee that the trees on your property will stay standing after every storm, there are some things you can do to keep them healthy.
It is good to know the signs of an unhealthy tree or determine if a branch is dead.
Calling in an arborist from a professional tree service like Laricks Complete Tree Services to inspect your trees annually will help keep tabs on your trees’ health.
An arborist can also take care of pruning your trees to be less wind-resistant and less prone to snapping off. Mulch your trees so that the root systems are healthy and keep your trees from uprooting.