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What Happens When a Tree Falls on Your Roof?

Did a tree just fall on your house? This is every homeowner’s nightmare. It’s disruptive and can be incredibly dangerous. Before you can determine if the damage is substantial enough for an emergency roof replacement there are a number of steps to take. The first thing you need to do is pull yourself together. There’s a lot to take care of, but things will be fine. So, take a few deep breaths while you go over the list below. It lays out everything you need to do, point by point.

Do a Safety Check

  • Are you or anyone else in the house injured? If you need to call 911, make this the first thing you do.
  • Do a quick interior visual survey to get an idea of how bad things are. Does it seem like the damage was confined to the roof? Did a window or two get knocked out? Or did the tree come through the ceiling and tear down walls?

Just do a spot check now, so you won’t have to go back in before services arrive. But try to avoid the damaged area as much as possible and don’t get up on the roof! Especially if the tree went through the house.

  • Do you smell gas? If your home uses natural gas, a line could have been damaged by the tree. You’ll need to have a professional evaluate this anyways, but smelling gas is a sure sign of an emergency.
  • Are there any water leaks, sprays, or pools? Be very careful with this. There’s a chance of electrocution.

Get out of the house

Do you have an emergency grab bag prepared? Now’s the time to get it, grab your cell phone, and get out.

If not, gather a few essentials before you leave:

  • cell phone with charger
  • weather appropriate clothing
  • keys (home and car)
  • wallet with cards, cash, and ID

If there’s too much damage to find anything and you can seek help at a neighbor’s place, just get yourself out.

And be careful to avoid any broken glass, debris, exposed wiring, or water.

Survey the from the ground

Once you’re safely out, look at the damage from outside. Do not climb up on the roof or go near where the tree fell.

Just look around your property for red flag issues and start to make some calls. Depending on how bad things are, you may need to inform your local municipality and utility companies.

Your insurer will require documentation. So, start taking some pictures while you’re outside.

  • Are any power lines down? Shut off your house’s power at the outdoor electrical panel, then call your power company and call 911 to inform the city.
  • Is there debris from the tree or your house in the street or on a sidewalk? Call emergency services.
  • Call 911 anyways. It’s always prudent to call 911 if a tree landed on your house. This is always a fire risk and the structure itself may be compromised.

So, let them know what happened and ask to have fire services out.

  • If your home uses natural gas and you could smell a leak inside, call 911 and ask for fire services to come out.
  • If your home uses natural gas and you didn’t detect a leak, call your gas company to inform them and ask to have someone come out and evaluate.
  • If you have a wrench on hand, you can turn off your home’s gas supply yourself. There should be a shut-off valve near the outside meter.

This is something that should only be done in emergencies, and you must wait for a gas company technician to turn it back on.

Contact your homeowner’s insurance

Call your homeowner’s insurance company. You need to do this immediately after taking care of any emergency issues. If you wait too long, your policy might be voided.

Your provider will have their own procedures and walk you through the next steps. This might include sending preferred technicians and contractors out, getting pictures taken, and providing you with accommodation.

Some insurers will provide you with a list of plumbers, roofers, and other contractors to use. Others will let you make your choice.

Follow your insurer’s guidelines carefully. If you don’t, your policy might be voided.

Is your insurance company giving your problems? A falling tree is almost always considered a covered peril. If there’s any pushback, hire the services of a public insurance adjuster.

If the tree came from your neighbor’s property, you should be able to file a claim against their insurance.

Document everything

Take pictures and videos now to document the damage. And continue documenting throughout the rest of the process.

Document the exterior property and inside the house. Do this before and after any work is done.

If the fire department comes to your home, they will be able to tell you if the house is safe to enter. If it isn’t, wait to take pictures when there are professional contractors on hand.

Call a plumber

If your insurance company doesn’t have a preferred plumber to use, go ahead and call one now. If it’s after working hours, look for one with emergency 24/7 service.

Falling trees can cause hidden damage to your home’s plumbing system. So, get a plumber out to your home even if you don’t see leaks or broken pipes.

Call a tree removal service

Look for a tree removal service that specifies removing downed trees from homes. (Arborists and general tree care services aren’t appropriate here.)

Get a free, no-obligation quote from several contractors before hiring one. And ask if this quote includes removing the downed tree from your property.

Most tree removal contractors have a 24-hour emergency service. If they don’t, this is a sure sign that they aren’t the right professional for the job.

Call an emergency roofer

It’s time to get a roofing contractor out. The roofers will start the process of restoring your home. 

Your roofers will inspect the home, tell you how severe the damage is, and let you know what the next steps should be.

Emergency response measures should include tarping your home to secure it against the elements and intruders.

Get a home restoration contractor

Once your roof is evaluated, it’s time to get a property restoration contractor. If your insurance didn’t make any suggestions, you can ask your roofer for a recommendation.

Roofers with years of local experience should be familiar with a few trusted restoration contractors.

Some restoration contractors focus on water, fire, or storm damage. Make sure your contractor is well-experienced with restoring severe structural damage. 

Check with your insurance company before making your final decision. Your insurer might spot red flags that you miss.

Emergency roofing repair in Omaha, Nebraska

Do you need emergency roofing services? If you want to talk to someone right now, give us a call at 720-741-2266, you can also schedule an emergency Omaha roof inspection here.

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