With storms increasingly threatening many areas of the country, it's vital to understand what to do if you suffer falling trees or branches during a severe storm. Here's a handy guide to get you on the right path.
First things first: Leave the affected area. If an entire tree--or a significant portion of it--falls onto your roof, there's likely going to be damage underneath that you can't easily see. And you may even be at risk inside for further damage from the tree or from the broken roof. So leave the home safely and quickly and don't return until it's been assessed by a professional and the storm has passed.
Check for Other Dangers
Once you have exited the house and are safe, you may want to do a visual inspection from a safe distance on the ground to look for additional hazards. This includes broken power lines or utilities and hanging limbs that could endanger passersby. If you suspect any of these added problems, don't hesitate to call 911 or the police for assistance and keep other people and animals away from the area.
Call Your Insurance
Homeowners' insurance generally covers all or most of the cost of fixing the damage from the tree and removing the offending tree itself as long as you aren't negligent. So try to have your policy handy before storm season and get on the phone to them as quickly as is safe to do so. Most insurance companies can also help you locate an experienced local roofing contractor who can help prevent further damage as the weather continues or if there are any delays in repairing the roof.
Don't Assess On Your Own
Unless you have roofing experience, it's probably not a good idea to head up on the roof and check out the damage on your own. Storms bring many other dangers, including high winds or gusts, downed power lines, flying debris, or hail. Even if you don't immediately experience these other dangers, stay away and call for a professional who can inspect the roof in a safe and secure manner. They will also have experience protecting the roof from further damage and covering it to protect the inside of your house.
While no one is happy to have a tree fall on their home, knowing what to do--and what not to do--when it occurs will help keep you safe and protect the valuable investment in your home.
Contact a business like Todd Harkleroad Roofing Inc. if you have questions about the integrity of your roof after a storm.