Living in a house surrounded by trees is a dream for many people, and it’s not until a serious storm comes along that you realize it’s not such a good idea to have trees that close to your home. When the worst happens and a tree falls on your home, you likely feel bewildered as to what you’re supposed to do next. Read on to find out what you need to do next and what you can expect in the coming hours, days, and weeks.
What To Do If A Tree Falls On Your Home: Immediate Actions
First, assess how badly damaged your home is and leave the structure if you’re worried it won’t hold in its current state. If there’s a raging storm outside, seek shelter in an unaffected area until the storm passes. Once the storm has passed, go outside and look at the damage and then call the emergency services – either 911 or a good alternative for your area, if you know it.
If the damage is minimal and you don’t feel as though you need an emergency service, and you’re absolutely sure no water pipes or wires have been damaged by the tree, find a roofer in your area who can come and assess the damage and safety of your home.
If there are any signs that powerlines have been damaged, be extremely cautious. Evacuate the area and call the power company as well as the emergency services.
Call Your House Insurance Company
As soon as it’s practical to do so, call your house insurance company. Most house insurance companies offer some emergency support as well as simply covering the costs of the damage, so don’t put off calling them if you need somewhere to stay – they may be able to sort out a hotel for you.
Find a Roofing Company
If you haven’t already found a trustworthy roofing company to assess the damage, it’s now time to do so. If there has been a major storm in your area your local roofers may be busy, but they’ll be doing their best to help everyone. Be aware of roofing companies that pop up at the curb who aren’t local – there are some scams out there so look for highly reputable companies.
Take Photos and Video
As soon as it’s safe to do so, document the damage indoors and outdoors. The more documentation you have here, the easier it will be to make your insurance claim and ensure you get everything covered.
Secure Your Property
If your home has sustained serious damage, you may need to take measures to secure your property so it isn’t broken into while you’re away. If it’s safe to do so, remove valuables from your home and lock all doors and windows. If any doors or windows are damaged, board them up with a piece of wood as a temporary fix.
Your house insurance will cover (minus your deductible) the cost of house repairs, but they won’t always cover the cost of tree removal. Whether or not they’ll cover the cost depends on where it fell and why it fell.
If the tree fell due to a storm, fire, or a vehicle hitting it, they’ll usually cover the removal. They’ll also usually cover more unusual reasons for a tree to fall, such as a riot, aircraft, explosion, or vandalism. This usually goes for trees that fall elsewhere on the property, as well as any that fall on your home.
A tree falling due to a flood or earthquake usually requires additional coverage, but check your policy for clarification.
If the tree fell on your home and it was in a neighbor’s yard, your insurance company should still cover removal, provided the circumstances around why it fell are those covered above.
If you don’t have home insurance and a tree has fallen on your home, you should still take the majority of the steps we’ve outlined above. Make sure you still document the damage so you have a record of it, and can share it with contractors when necessary to start getting quotes to get the damage fixed.
You’ll need to fund the removal of the tree and the repairs yourself. You should get full quotes for the work and shop around for a reasonable price. You may need to consider taking out a loan to cover the cost of the repairs if you do not have any savings or consider if there is a way to do the repairs over time (with temporary fixes in the short term).
If you cannot afford the repair costs and the damage is the result of a big storm, try reaching out to charities and organizations in your area for help. If you exhaust your options and can still not afford the repairs, your best option may be to sell the home.
Cash home-buying companies like us and other real estate investors may be interested in purchasing your property, even if it’s damaged. If you can, do your best to make the home water-tight so rain can not freely enter the home, and then reach out to a company like us.
We buy homes in Massachusetts for cash (there are similar companies operating in other states if you aren’t in the North East) and we may be able to buy your home for cash in just a matter of weeks.
If you’re feeling trapped with a home you can’t afford to repair but isn’t in a traditionally sellable condition, this will likely be the best and fastest way to move on with your life and start over in a new home. To find out more about the process or to get your no-obligation cash offer for your home, click here.