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Roof Damage | Insurance

What Should You Do If a Tree Falls on Your Roof?

February 13th, 2023 | 6 min. read

What Should You Do If a Tree Falls on Your Roof?

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Your roof protects you, your family, and your valuables from the elements and weather. Unfortunately, extreme weather is your roof’s worst enemy. 

While hail and wind are the two main culprits, trees also cause significant damage to roofs. But unlike hail and wind, trees falling on a roof require a little more urgency. 

The problem is knowing what to do when a tree actually falls on your roof. I want to change that. 

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has taken pride in answering questions from homeowners experiencing stress because of roof damage. Because of this, I’ll help you understand what you should do when a tree falls on your roof. 

This article answers the following questions:

  • What can cause a tree to fall on your roof?
  • What kind of damage can a fallen tree do to your roof?
  • What should you do if a tree falls on your roof?

What can cause a tree to fall on your roof?

The first thing we need to discuss is what would cause a tree to fall on your roof. You may think this isn’t important, but what causes a tree to fall on your roof determines your plan of action. 

The most obvious and common cause of a tree falling on a roof is extreme weather, such as thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Regardless of size or type, trees usually fall when wind speeds reach 94mph. 

Just know that older trees that are dying or sick are more vulnerable to winds that increase the chances of falling in bad weather. But the weather isn't the only reason trees fall on roofs. 

They also fall due to poor soil nutrition, poor care, insect infestation, wood rot, and old age. If this is the reason a tree fell on your roof, it will not be covered by your homeowners insurance policy

Homeowners insurance only covers roof damage caused by extreme weather. So, if a tree falls on your roof from lack of care or maintenance, you can’t rely on insurance to pay to fix the damage or replace your roof. 

What kind of damage can a fallen tree do to your roof?

After learning what can cause a tree to fall on your roof, you need to know the damage it’ll do. The most obvious roof damage caused by fallen trees is structural damage. 

fallen tree on roof

Fallen tree limbs alone can cause enough structural damage to go through a roof. So, the damage could be significant from an entire tree falling, depending on the size. 

structual damage inside attic from tree falling on a roof

Just know that even if a tree doesn’t go through your roof, it’ll still damage your roofing material and components. While structural damage is the most common and significant, it also causes drainage issues. 

Sitting tree branches, sticks, leaves, and other debris will form a blockage that doesn’t allow water to flow down to your gutters. This eventually leads to leaks inside your home because the water backs up and gets underneath your roofing material. 

What should you do if a tree falls on your roof?

Now you know what causes a tree to fall on your roof and the damage it can do. So, what do you do about it?

Let’s break down what you should do if a tree falls on your roof. 

Assess the damage to your home

The first thing you need to do is assess the extent of the damage to your home. This is to determine if damage caused by a tree falling on your roof is enough to make your home unsafe. 

If the tree came all the way through your roof, it's best to evacuate to keep you and your family safe. The tree could also potentially damage the wiring in your attic and cause electrical fires. 

If you detect smoke or flames, immediately dial 911. Just know that the extent of the damage may not be immediately apparent, so it’s a good idea to leave your home either way. 

Contact your insurance company for next steps

Once you have gotten your family to safety and called for assistance (if needed), you should contact your insurance company to file an insurance claim. After providing the relevant information, they’ll either send out an adjuster or tell you to find a roofing company for an inspection

If the insurance company schedules an adjuster, they’ll come out to inspect the damage and determine if you have a claim. Once they approve your claim, it’ll be time to find a roofing contractor.  

If the insurance company tells you to find a roofing contractor, you’ll find one you trust for an inspection. If they find signs of storm damage, they’ll document the proof and send it off to your insurance company for approval. 

Just know that you’ll have to rely on your adjuster to approve your claim. That’s why I recommend taking your own pictures and videos of the roof damage. 

This is to aid your claim and give you a leg to stand on if they initially deny your claim. And remember, your claim will only be approved if the tree fell because of extreme weather. 

Find a local roofing contractor with insurance experience

No matter what your insurance says as next steps, you’ll need to find a roofing contractor. A roofing contractor will assess the damage, provide support for your insurance claim, and correctly do the scope of work provided by the insurance company.

Generally, I recommend getting two or three estimates from a few different roofing contractors. But for insurance work, it’s crucial to get a single estimate from one you trust.

And more importantly, you need to find a roofing contractor with experience dealing with and working on insurance claims. This ensures they’ll know the insurance claim process, how to read your claim, help you supplement anything missing, and how to do the work in compliance with your insurance company, so you don’t inadvertently commit insurance fraud. 

The tips you need to find a roofing contractor for roof damage insurance work

Now you know what to do if a tree falls on your roof. Remember, after calling for assistance if needed, you should immediately call your insurance company. 

Once you talk to your insurance company, you should go ahead and start the process of finding a roofing contractor. Unfortunately, the roofing industry is saturated, and there are probably a lot of options in your area. 

Not only that, insurance claim work is a specialized niche of roofing that sees a lot of scams. This makes hiring one you can trust even more difficult. 

That’s why I want to give you the tips needed to hire a roofing contractor that specializes in roof damage insurance claims. 

Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has guided homeowners through the insurance claim process in Nashville, Franklin, Brentwood, and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas. We give you the power to ensure you roof gets everything it needs. 

Here are 5 Tips to Hire a Roofing Contractor for a Roof Damage Insurance Claim so you can find one you can trust in your area.

storm damage checklist

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