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What to do if a tree falls on your home or property

A guide to help start the clean up process.

ATLANTA — Severe weather always has the potential to uproot trees and send them toppling. 

Tropical Storm Zeta brought down hundreds of trees in metro Atlanta and North Georgia leaving many homeowners with a mess in 2020. Thunderstorms, tornadoes and even winter weather have the potential to do the same.

So what do you do if a tree falls on your house? Street? Neighbor's yard? Here are some tips.

If a tree falls onto your home or property

Credit: Sara Hale Bates
A tree fell on this home early Monday in Gillsville, Ga.

Leave if it's dangerous.
If the downed tree has created a dangerous situation, leave. The first thing to think of is safety.

Contact your homeowner's insurance.
If the tree fell on your home due to an act of nature, the damage should be covered by most policies. However, be prepared to face the cost alone if the tree doesn't actually land on your home. Some insurance holders have found they're responsible for the full cost of its removal if it lands in their yard and not on a fence, patio, garage or the home.

Did the tree fall from a neighbor's yard? 

You'll still need to file the insurance claim. It's the responsibility of the homeowner where the tree landed to remove the tree and fix damages.

In the future, homeowners can take steps if they are concerned about a neighbor's tree potentially falling and damaging their property. Here is guidance on the law from the University of Georgia.

If a tree falls on your car

Credit: WXIA
A tree fell on a car Sunday morning.

Contact your auto insurance.
The claim should be covered under comprehensive coverage. Once again, if it's your car, it's your claim, even if the tree falls from a neighbor's yard.

If you come across a downed tree on a roadway/highway

Credit: Americus Police Department

If the tree has fallen on a roadway, highway or other area that could create a dangerous situation, call 911.

Be careful about maneuvering around it and consider taking an alternate route. Trees can bring down powerlines or other debris making the area around it unsafe to navigate.

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