What to Do If a Tree Falls on Your House

Large fallen tree that damaged roof and exterior of residential home.

Older neighborhoods can be a joy to live in. Beautiful architecture, friendly neighbors, good schools, and big trees. Unfortunately, sometimes those big trees can be a disadvantage too. Especially if one falls and blocks access to the street, takes down electrical wires or, even worse, lands on your house. According to Houzz.com, if you live in a neighborhood with large trees, each year there’s an 8% chance one will fall and damage your property. And if you live in a part of the country where big storms or high winds are common, the chances go up to 12% or more. So, if you’re a homeowner with large trees on or near your property, it’s important to know what to do if one hits your house.

Why Do Trees Fall?

The two most common reason trees fall are root damage and weather. Trees whose roots have been weakened by root rot, or damaged by construction or ground compaction, can become unstable—especially in the summer months when the canopy is heavy with leaves and the soil may loosen as a result of heavy rain. In some cases, the tree may have shallow roots due to compacted soil or because it’s normal for that tree species. But even a tree with healthy roots can fall because of a combination of saturated ground and high winds or lightning. The worst-case scenario is a hurricane or tornado, but trees can also fall after several days of rain combined with straight-line winds. Keeping your trees’ roots healthy can prevent most disasters, but not all. So, what should you do if the worst happens?

Evacuate the House

If a tree or one of its large limbs crashes through the roof, first make sure all the occupants are safe. Check in with everyone—including your pets—then get out of the house as quickly and safely as possible. Hopefully, you’ve made a disaster preparedness plan and you’ve practiced your evacuation before a storm occurs. Make sure you have a “go bag” prepared or you take items you’ll need like cash, car keys, important documents and, if possible, a change of clothes. Once you know everyone is safe, call 911 so the fire department can help you secure your premises. Although it may be tempting, make sure you:

  • Don’t climb onto your roof.

  • Don’t climb onto the fallen tree.

  • Don’t touch downed power lines.

Related Topic: Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage?

Contact Your Insurance Company

Most homeowner insurance policies will cover at least some of the damage caused by fallen trees—especially if the damage is weather related—including the cost of removing the tree and the damage to your property. The insurance adjuster will usually want to come out and make an assessment before any tree removal work is done, to see the full extent of the damage before filing a report or recommending any claim reimbursement. If your adjuster can’t get there right away, make your own post-disaster damage assessment, and take photos of the damage as soon as it’s safe to do so. Try to show the damage from different angles, and from both close up and further away. If your insurance company allows it, upload the pictures to their website to speed evaluation and determine compensation.

Contact an Arborist

As soon as the storms are over, schedule a visit from a certified arborist. They’re knowledgeable when it comes to tree removal and have the experience necessary to get the job done right. They can also coordinate the tree removal with your contractor and other qualified professionals to make sure everything is done correctly. If the damage was caused by a large limb, they’ll prune the damage done by the falling branch and make sure the tree is stable and isn’t uneven or too heavy on one side.

Contact Rainbow International

Life is full of unexpected and unplanned events like, a tree falling on your house. If this happens to you Rainbow International has all the services you’ll need to deal with the aftermath of a fallen tree. If your roof is damaged, we offer roof-tarping services until it can be fixed. If windows are broken, our board-up service gives you protection from the weather, safety from broken glass, and security from illegal entry. Our water damage restoration services can help lessen the chances of mold, warped wood, and stained walls. We can even help repair the damage. With Rainbow International you get full-spectrum, start-to-finish disaster restoration services, including debris removal and cleanup, water removal and drying, and home reconstruction. To find out more contact us at (855) 724-6269 or schedule an appointment online.