Torrential storms that occur around the St. Louis area and throughout the country this time of year can cause many different types of damage to your home. One of the most frightening and potentially dangerous types of damage is a tree falling on the roof. Trees can fall due to various conditions that accompany summer storms, including lightning, heavy rain, and high winds. When you live in a forested area or a community with mature landscaping, the risk of a tree falling on the house is greater, but this is a weather event that all homeowners should be aware of. Even if it is not a whole tree, but a heavy tree limb, the damage that a tree can do to your roof in a storm is a serious issue, and it is vital to know how to proceed if you find yourself in this unfortunate predicament.
How Should You Proceed if a Tree Falls on Your Home
No one wants to think about this happening to them, but the possibility of a tree or large limb falling on your roof is greater than you may think. The most important thing, when such an event occurs, is to know what to do and to have a plan of action in place to protect your family and prevent further damage to your home. Be sure to know these essential steps to take if a tree crashes down on your roof.
No one wants to evacuate their St. Louis house during a storm, but the first step you should take is getting everyone to safety. It is always a good idea to practice a home evacuation plan before a weather event and to have measures in place like a pre-packed “go bag,” including important items like cash, important documents, and emergency supplies. Keeping these necessary items in one place that is easy to access helps to ensure that you have everything you need if you have to leave your home in a hurry. Some families even choose to pack individual bags for each family member with items like toiletries and a change of clothes.
No matter how insignificant the damage may appear to be, do not ever attempt to deal with a fallen tree on your own. You should never attempt to climb onto your roof when it is storming. Roofing professionals have the experience and knowledge to safely remove the tree once the danger of rain and wind has passed. Climbing on your roof during a storm can also put you at risk of being struck by lightning. You also never know the extent of the damage to your roof’s structural integrity, and going up on the roof on your own could result in a collapse. Once you have successfully evacuated your home, the next step you should take is to call 911. Your local emergency services personnel will be able to advise you on how to proceed, and they may dispatch a crew to ensure that your home is safe from any chance of electrical problems or fire.
Call Your Insurance Company
It is important to establish the type of damage you have suffered with your homeowners’ insurance as soon as you can. As long as the damage was not a result of negligence on your part, many insurance policies cover damage from storm debris and the removal of fallen trees. If, on the other hand, the tree that has fallen was old and rotten, your insurance may reach the decision that you had prior knowledge that the situation could occur and could have prevented it. In this situation, your damage may not be covered, or the coverage may be reduced. As a precautionary measure, it is always a good idea to keep up with proper tree maintenance on your property.
Your insurance company will be able to direct you on what step you should take next. It is likely they will suggest that you reach out to a respected roofing company in your St. Louis area to inspect your roof, cover exposed areas, and make sure any damaged windows are covered and further damage held at bay. Once the storm clears up, be sure to take pictures of the damage from all angles. Get some closeup and others from a distance to show the full extent of the damage. Your insurance company will want to see pictures as soon as you can get them, and many offer a way to upload photos right to their website, so they can perform their evaluation and determine your coverage.
Call Your Roofing Contractor
If you have lived in your area for some time, it is likely that you already have a roofing contractor that you know and trust. If you are new to the area, you can find a great local company by asking neighbors and friends who they trust with the care of their roof. Just be wary of choosing the first company that comes up in a google search or in your local yellow pages. Be sure to read reviews and customer testimonials to be sure that the roofer you hire runs a respectable, trustworthy business. There are “fly by night” companies out there who are known as “storm chasers”. These people prey on homeowners who have experienced unfortunate situations, and often scam homeowners into paying more than they would need to for repairs and clean-up.
Secure Your Home
Oftentimes, when you have a tree fall on your St. Louis house, the damage is significant enough that you need to live elsewhere for a short time while repairs are completed, and the home is deemed safe for habitation. If this is the case, keep all doors and windows locked while you seek temporary housing and remove all valuables from your home. Your first priority should be the safety of you and your family, so be sure to take protective measures if you need to leave the house for a period of time.
When a tree falls on your home, there are so many factors to consider that you shouldn’t leave anything to chance. You can never be too careful about downed power lines, holes in your roof, and broken windows. Buried gas lines can even be affected by trees that have fallen. A reputable contractor will be able to help you with all of these issues and ensure the stability of your home and the safety of your family.