If a tree falls on your property, choose the certified arborists at Boutte Tree to help you navigate the removal and prevention process. Learn more about how hiring a certified arborist is more effective and efficient than ‘just a tree guy’.
Trees are a beautiful part of our lives, but they can also pose a threat when they fall. You should know what to do if a tree falls on your property or your neighbor’s property. Below, we outline some steps – not necessarily in order – that you use to ensure everyone’s safety and protect your property. You can call Boutte Tree at any point!
- Assess the situation: Determine the extent of the damage. To the extent that it is safe to do so, determine if anyone is injured or trapped under the tree, whether in a house, vehicles, or outside. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately.
- Consider Utilities: When trees impact structures, they can often damage electric lines, gas utilities, and water pipes. This damage can lead to fires, poisonous fumes, and/or electric shock hazards. You should consider these hazards and make an inspection to the extent that it is safe to do so.
- Remove people from danger zones: While it’s impossible to describe every potential danger zone, try to keep people away from the tree, any structures impacted, and any utilities connected with the tree damage.
- Mitigate against water intrusion: The best way to protect your structures from additional damage such as water damage is to quickly remove the tree, thereby allowing for a professional tarping job, or “dry-in.” It’s not worth the risk to attempt a tarp installation on a damaged roof unless you’re an experienced tradesman. If your house is safe to enter, collect water in buckets. By keeping your house dry, you will save time, effort and headaches from potential mold situations.
- Contact your insurance company: If the fallen tree has badly damaged an insured structure, you’ll likely file a claim. An adjuster may come to your house to assess the damage, either before or after the tree is removed. Check your policy, many homeowner insurance policies require you to act to prevent further losses – such as water damage. If you can prevent further damage to your property, you’re obligated to do so – move quickly but don’t rush your decision either.
- Hire a professional tree removal company: After assessing the situation and contacting your insurance company, you’ll need to hire a professional tree removal company to remove the fallen tree. At Boutte Tree, we know how to guide you to best remove the tree. We have multiple cranes and specialized equipment designed to make tree extraction safer, allowing us to complete 90% of tree extractions within a day. We bill using an hourly rate sheet – which means the insurance company will have no difficulty understanding (and compensating for!) the tree removal project.
- Document the damage: Before the tree removal work is started, make sure to take photos of the damage for your records and insurance claim. This will also provide additional perspective for the tree removal company to determine the best approach for removing the fallen tree.
- Communicate with your neighbor: If the fallen tree has caused damage to your neighbor’s property, it’s important to communicate with them to let them know what steps you’re taking to resolve the situation. In Georgia, it is complicated in that a fallen tree (if not previously known to be dead) is the responsibility of the owners of where it falls (meaning if your tree falls on your neighbor’s property, it is likely that their insurance company also needs to get involved). Being a good neighbor starts with coordinating efforts on the front-end if your tree ends up outside of your property.
- Prevent future incidents: To prevent future incidents, it’s important to regularly inspect trees on your property and remove any dead or diseased trees that may pose a risk. You should also make sure to trim branches that are close to power lines or other structures. If you have trees close to your property line, it’s a good idea to communicate with your neighbor about any potential risks.
In conclusion, if a tree falls on your property or your neighbor’s property, it’s important to take immediate action to ensure everyone’s safety and protect your property. By assessing the situation, contacting your insurance company, hiring a professional tree removal company, documenting the damage, communicating with your neighbor, and taking steps to prevent future incidents, you can minimize the damage and ensure a safe and secure environment for yourself and your community.