What to do When a Tree Falls on Your House or Property

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Storms are a fact of life in the Portland and Vancouver areas. Snow storms, rain storms, wind storms – they make the news, can disrupt our lives, and occasionally knock down trees. And when they do, the safest thing to do is call a tree service company experienced in emergency tree removal. If you haven’t dealt with a fallen tree before, or even if you have, here are the steps you should take if a tree has fallen on your property or home.

Safety First

tree laying on house and car after storm requiring emergency tree removal If the area has foot or road traffic, rope off or block off the area to limit the risk of someone getting injured by the hazardous tree. Whatever you have on hand is better than nothing. This terrible situation is only made worse by someone getting hurt on your property. Also think about putting a sign on the doors inside your home to prevent anyone from forgetting and using the affected exits.

Check the Power Lines

From a distance observe if your power lines are involved. If they are it might be advisable to either turn off your power or at least unplug any expensive electronics. Most modern electronics are surge protected now so this is less of a factor but it is still something to consider. You might want to call the power company as well to alert them to the issue.

Be a Good Neighbor

It doesn’t usually matter whose tree it was, what matters is whose property it is on now. That is the person who will be responsible for hiring a tree service and paying for the tree work or arranging payment though their insurance.

If your tree fell on your neighbor’s property it is their problem and vice-versa. That being said, a good neighbor should not have to take complete responsibility for what is generally considered an act of god. Most neighbors will likely do what they can to make the situation right with their affected neighbors.

Making it right could mean splitting or taking care of any out of pockets costs your neighbor has regarding this work. This is especially a good idea if they have mentioned their concerns about the tree to you before.

Call in a Professional Tree Service

Call a local tree service company that provides emergency tree service. The company will likely ask you for the photos so they can assess the situation. Tree services that provide emergency service should be able to dispatch someone to examine the damage in about thirty minutes. Once that person arrives they should be able to dispatch a crew in approximately another thirty minutes, even on the weekend or holidays. Sometimes extreme weather causes these times to increase. Speed is an important factor in limiting water damage to the interior of your home in our rainy climate.

There is no need to get an estimate for the emergency tree service work to be performed as tree service companies who routinely deal with these sorts of calls will usually bill your insurance company directly at an hourly rate. This is preferred as they take on the liability for collecting their fee from the insurance company and only require your cooperation in providing information to the insurance company.

Companies who don’t handle it this way might give you a bid which you decide to accept. However, when your insurance agency only agrees to pay a portion of the invoice, that same tree service company is nowhere to be found. Now you’re left with the difficult work of trying to recoup your funds.

Fallen trees are very dangerous! Even trees that look like they have fallen may be under great pressure and thus are extremely dangerous. It’s no joke – leave the emergency tree removal and clean up to the professionals. That neighbor of your who swears he is skilled with a chainsaw and can handle it for you? Really not a good idea. The one thing that can make this already bummer of a situation worse is a trip to the hospital.

Contact the Insurance Company

Fallen tree on a home If a tree has fallen on your home, call your homeowners insurance and open a claim. There is no reason to avoid doing this because homeowner’s insurance rates are not affected by this type of claim. Additionally, this type of emergency tree service work is very dangerous and thus very expensive. You will need to get the following information from your insurance company:

  • Claim number
  • Your adjuster’s name, phone number, and email.

The good news is there’s good chance that you won’t have to pay for this work, or at least for the part of the tree that has already fallen. The parties who are potentially paying for/doing the work are: the city, the power company, your homeowner’s insurance, your car insurance, or your neighbor’s homeowner’s insurance.

The rules regarding who does the work and who pays for the work are complex, so contacting a Portland tree service who regularly handles this type of emergency tree removal work is your best bet to figuring this part of the equation out.

Don’t Skip the Paperwork

You will most likely need a tree removal permit and will most likely need to replant a new tree. The need of a permit to remove a naturally fallen tree seems crazy to some people, but the reality is that most cities now require tree removal permits, even for emergency tree removal. They also don’t usually care whether you hired someone to cut the tree down or the wind knocked it down.

Make sure the Portland tree service you are hiring is handling the permit process for you as most will do it free of charge. It is also one less thing to do in what is usually a pretty tiresome and stressful process of getting your house back to its previous condition.

Emergency Tree Removal in Portland, Oregon

Having a tree fall on your house or property is unlikely to ever be a fun experience. However, if you keep these things in mind, you will come through the process much smoother and with less to worry about. And, in the event that a tree does fall on your house or property,  contact Urban Forest Professionals at 503-226-7143 and then dial extension 9. It’s the fastest, best way to get the certified, experienced arborists here at Urban Forest Pros in your corner and on the road.

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