Five years ago, an EF3 tornado touched down in Kokomo, doing $10 million worth of damage.
Storms and tornadoes can take a toll on your Indiana home, especially if you have a dead or sick tree in your yard. Trees that land on your house can do a significant amount of damage, but there are steps you can take to minimize the impact.
Start with this guide if you’re wondering what to do if a tree falls on your house. We’ll walk you through the steps you need to take, including who you need to call and whether you’re covered, and how to protect your home in the future.
What to Do if a Tree Falls on Your House
If a tree falls on your home, it’s crucial you keep a level head. The first step is to ensure everyone is safe, and then you can take steps toward protecting your house from further damage.
Whether you’re worried about a tree falling in the future or you’ve just seen it happen, here’s what you need to do, step by step.
Evacuate if Necessary
Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to evacuate the building. Your first goal is to ensure your safety and your family’s safety.
Ensure everyone is accounted for, including your family pets.
If the tree has destroyed a part of your house and you’re experiencing flooding, you should evacuate to a safe area.
When to Call 911
If the tree fell on your home and someone was injured, call 911 for help. Fallen trees can cause severe and sometimes life-threatening injuries or fatalities.
You should call 911 if anyone was injured or killed, if the tree poses a hazard to pedestrians or traffic, or if the tree took down electrical power lines.
When trees fall, they often bring down power lines as well. Anyone that comes into contact with downed power lines can get shocked. It also poses a severe fire hazard.
If a tree brought down powerlines near your home, shut off your power at the breaker box if you can. Evacuate to somewhere safe if possible and then call 911 to report the incident.
Document the Situation
After you’ve confirmed that everyone is safe, you should document the situation. Take pictures of the tree and your house. Document all the damage that you notice to make filing a claim easier.
Wait until after the storm, and make sure it’s safe to take pictures or videos as you don’t want to endanger yourself. Take pictures from the ground and be sure to document broken windows, structural damage, damaged siding, and so on.
Call Your Insurance Company
You don’t want to avoid or put off calling your insurance company, as doing so can void a policy. Besides, your homeowner’s insurance should cover the damage and even pay for tree removal up to a certain limit.
Details may vary depending on your policy and the insurer, so be sure to read your policy or ask.
Call your insurance company to start the claims process. They’ll walk you through what you need to do next. For instance, a claims adjuster may come out to inspect your home and the damage done. After doing so, they can come up with an estimate for any repair costs.
Call in the Professionals
Your insurance company may recommend that you contact several professionals to keep your home safe and prevent further damage.
For instance, you’ll likely need to contact a company for emergency tree removal services. They can safely extract the tree and any fallen branches from your property.
A tree removal company can also inspect other trees that may pose a threat in the future. When a tree becomes uprooted, it can sometimes cause instability in other nearby trees.
Additionally, your insurance company may have you contact a roofer to come and inspect the roof for damage. Roofers can use a tarp to cover any exposed areas prior to making repairs.
You may also have to call a plumber if there are any leaks or damage to the plumbing system. Trees can sometimes damage your plumbing, resulting in broken pipes and leaks. Ignoring water damage can cause mold in the home.
If your home is flooding, you’ll need to call for emergency water removal.
Prevent Further Damage
After the repairs have been completed and your home is back to normal, is there anything you can do to make sure this doesn’t happen again?
If you notice dead or damaged branches on a tree, you should call to have them trimmed. Fallen branches on the roof can cause issues as well, such as blocked gutters and extra weight.
Keeping up with regular tree trimming and getting inspections can help keep your home safe. While it’s possible for a bad storm to uproot a healthy tree, an unhealthy or dying tree poses more of a threat.
If you neglect to take care of trees on your property, your insurance company might deny your claim. It’s your responsibility to keep up with the trees on your land, and a tree care service can help.
Understanding what to do when a tree falls is one of the best steps you can take to protect your home from future damage.
Protect Your Home and Property
Now that you know what to do if a tree falls on your house, you’re prepared to weather any storm.
If you care for the trees in your yard now, you’ll have less to worry about if bad weather hits. If you need professional tree services, from tree and stump removal to trimming and more, we do it all. Send us a message today to see how we can help you!