No one wants to have a tree fall on their roof, but if it happens there are a few things you should do right away to protect yourself and get repairs started as soon as possible.
What to do if a tree falls on your roof
1. The first thing you should do, if it is safe, is evacuated from your home and gather someplace safe. If a tree falls during a storm, you may be safer inside. You'll need to evaluate the situation to determine the best place to go. Have a meeting place for your family in case of an emergency, like a fire or a downed tree. Once you are sure everyone is safe, it's time to contact the authorities.
2. Call emergency services, like 911, if necessary. You should call 911 if any of the following happen:
tree blocks the road
tree fell on your house
tree fell on your car
power lines are damaged
there are injuries
Don't try to assess the damage by yourself, as it could be dangerous. Contact the authorities if it is necessary or there is a danger to life or property.
3. Call your homeowner's insurance company. You'll need to start a claim as soon as possible. The insurance company may send someone out to assess the damage and temporarily board up your roof. They will make any necessary repairs to avoid further damage. If the insurance company sends someone, those costs will be covered by your policy, less your deductible.
4. Take photos of the damage and the tree when it is safe to do so. Be sure to remain at a safe distance and be safe when taking photographs. They will be needed to help document the damage for your insurance claim.
5. Call a roofing contractor. A local roofing contractor can assess the damage and provide an estimate to your insurance company. You want to be careful of contractors approaching you, especially after a major storm. They may be from out of state or fraudulently looking to take your money without performing work. It's best if you reach out to a contractor that you know is reputable and has worked in your area.
6. If you aren't able to stay in your home any longer due to the damage, make sure the contents are as secure as possible before leaving your home. You may need some temporary repairs performed before you can secure your belongings. These temporary repairs will be covered by your insurance, less your deductible.
Does homeowners' insurance cover tree removal?
Yes, most homeowners' insurance will cover the cost to remove the tree or shrub that caused the damage, no matter whose yard it's on. Insurance will also cover repairs to your roof, structure, and any contents that were damaged due to the incident. Your deductible may be refunded if the insurance company finds out that a neighbor's negligence caused the tree to fall. If it was caused by weather or other actions not under your control, such as a car hitting a tree, insurance will generally pay for the damages. If it was caused by negligent care or not removing a hazardous tree, you will be responsible for the damages. Read your homeowner's insurance policy for detailed information about what is and isn't covered by your policy.
Who is responsible for fallen tree removal?
If the tree fell due to weather or an act outside of your control, your home insurance will generally cover the removal of the tree and the repairs necessary to your home. If the tree fell due to disease or lack of maintenance or care, and you had prior knowledge of the tree's condition, then you are responsible for removing the tree and repairing any damage.
If the tree was in your neighbor's yard and fell due to weather or action outside of their control, your insurance will still pay for the repairs and tree removal. If the tree in your neighbor's yard fell due to disease or lack of maintenance or care, and you can prove that the neighbor had prior knowledge, then the neighbor is responsible for paying for the removal of the tree. Either way, you can still file an insurance claim with your homeowner's insurance. They will go after your neighbor or their insurance to recoup the costs paid.
Can a house withstand a tree falling on it?
A house can withstand a tree falling on it, but it will cause extensive damage. The exact amount of damage will depend on the size of the tree and where it falls on your house. Don't ever try to assess roof damage by yourself. Always contact a reputable roofing contractor, as they have the skills, knowledge, and equipment to assess the work safely.
If you have a falling tree branch or a tree has gone through your roof, make sure your family is safe, call emergency services if needed, call your insurance company, and then call Findlay Roofing. We can assess the damage, make temporary repairs, and get you back in your home quickly and safely.