Whether the tree that just fell on your house was caused by a natural disaster or a man-made one, a thoughtfully prepared aftermath recovery process is very important.
This includes checking for any injured persons, assessing the extent of the damage to your property, and if the unfortunate incident is part of your insurance coverage or your homeowner’s insurance policy. If you’re a renter, check out this insightful article.
So, how to survive a tree falling on your house? Follow these helpful tips:
Make sure that everyone is safe
The first thing to do is to check if everyone is safe. Check on people and pets who may have been inside.
If someone is injured, check his or her ABCs (Airway, Breathing, Circulation) immediately. Don’t ever try to move the person because this might do more harm than good. Seek professional help by calling emergency services instead.
Since the condition of the house poses a threat to the safety of everyone inside, immediate evacuation is necessary. Get out of the house as soon as possible by way of the safest exit closest to you.
Assess the damage with care
When doing so, it’s always best to play it safe. The danger is not yet over even if things have calmed down. Even though the structure looks stable, do not attempt to go inside your house to see what the toppled tree has done. Your house’s foundation might have been impaired by the mishap.
During a hurricane, for example, it may look like the peak of the hurricane is over, but the continuous rain paired with the intermittent strong winds may reduce the resistance of an exposed building. This might cause the house to cave in and trap you inside.
Seek the help of an expert first such as a restoration company.
A restoration company can safely assess and perform the necessary clean-up in order to prevent further damage to your house. You can safely go back inside the house once a professional has fully checked its integrity and has given you the green signal.
Who is responsible for a fallen tree?
That depends on the cause as well as the extent of the damage. Not all will be covered by an insurance policy.
A downed tree caused by force majeure or an Act of God, however, will be covered by an insurance policy – whether it is located inside your yard or your neighbor’s. This includes a healthy tree that is broken or uprooted by a hurricane.
If the tree is within your property, your own insurance company will bear the responsibility for it, but you will be responsible for the deductible.
The deductible will be based on a portion of your house’s insured value. Your neighbor will pay for the deductible if the tree is within his property.
The physical condition of the tree will have to be determined as well. Is the tree too damaged or old? If so, the owner of the tree should show proof that he or she has exercised the proper care needed to ensure that the tree will not topple over.
The recovery process after a traumatic event such as this can be long and strenuous. You don’t have to do it alone. Get as much help as you can so that you can move through your journey to recovery in the best way possible.
Before Bad Weather, Get Your Trees Trimmed
Albert Briseno, owner of Timberland Tree Care in Walnut Creek, says that most damage to trees during bad weather can be easily prevented with a little trimming.
“Unless there has been damage to the tree’s root structure, having your trees pruned in October or November by a competent arborist can prevent the worst kinds of damage to your tree and property.”