A tree fell on my house, what now?
Trees can fall on homes for a variety of reasons; heavy winds, ice, and thunderstorms, or even a rotting or dead tree. Fallen trees can cause extensive structural damage, and the first thing you should do is get your family to safety.
Once you’re in a safe area, call 911, and if power lines are down call the electric company. Downed power lines are hazardous and can increase the risk of a fire or deadly electrical shock. If you see that power lines are down from the outside of the home, with or without power, or if the power is out, shut off the breaker box. It’s better to suspect that the tree took down a power line than risking a fire. If you smell smoke, make sure to get far away from the house and call 911 and the electrical company from a different location.
Preventing Immediate Damage
To prevent further immediate damage from the fallen tree, make sure to also shut off the gas in case of damaged gas lines. You can shut-off the gas by turning the valve at the meter a quarter turn to the right with a wrench.
Call a contractor to board up windows, and add tarps to holes in the roof and sides of the home to prevent more damage from the weather. Don’t try to cover the roof on your own as it will be unstable, and it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
Documentation and Insurance
Take photos and videos of the damage outdoors and indoors as soon as there is no immediate danger. Have the roofing contractor take images of the roof. Make sure to document all broken windows, structural damage, and personal items that have been damaged to show as evidence to the insurance company.
Once you have photos and videos, call your homeowner’s insurance to start the claims process. Understand what your financial obligations are in the homeowner’s insurance policy. Until the amount of your claim is approved, don’t start any permanent repairs such as the tree removal. If the insurance amount isn’t enough to cover the cost of repairs, you may have the right to appeal. Make sure to keep track of all damage related expenses and save receipts.
Forensic Engineering Specialists
Engineering Specialists Inc. has nearly 30 years of field experience in analyzing the damage to vehicles, residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. We can work on any project in any state, nationwide. When you or your business needs to confirm the extent of damage or how to correct a problem, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us, toll-free, at (877) 559-4010.