Who do you call when your house sustains unexpected structural damage (don't need answers fast)

My next door neighbors have spent the entire pandemic doing questionable construction projects (including using an electric saw outside in the pouring rain to remove a deck) and I think this has crawled into my brain because last night I dreamed that something in their yard blew up and shrapnel from this damaged my house. The damage I saw was a hole about four feet high by two feet wide next to a window, though I suspected that wasn’t the full extent.

I spent the rest of the dream trying to convince my housemates to go look at the damage and trying to rescue a cat from the rubble.

And I woke up wondering what you actually should do next if this really happened, obviously not what dream me focused on. Leave the house? Call the fire department? Call the home insurance’s office? Someone else?

If something blew up and left that kind of damage, everyone for blocks around will be calling. :wink: Call 911, they can figure out who to send.
Leave the house, for sure. You don’t know what the shrapnel might have damaged.

Moved from GQ to IMHO.

I’d call a hotel first, to get rooms. Then my insurance company. My insurance covers alternative accommodation.

My experience living in the house after it got flooded by a burst pipe was that I should have moved out, taken everything out into storage, so the renovation could be done properly, and so that the insurance company was on the hook until it was fixed.

If a tree fell on my roof, I talk to the guy next door: his business is emergency roof repairs :slight_smile: But if it happens during a storm, he’s going to be too busy: the people who will come around and put a tarp on the roof to stop the rain getting in are the “State Emergency Service”, which is a semi-volunteer organisation like a volunteer fire department – because of the volunteers, they bulk up the man-power quickly when needed.

Nah, you’d just see 45 posts on facebook asking if that loud noise was a gunshot or fireworks.

^^^Yup. Sounds exactly like my neighborhood Facebook group.

I’d probably contact my insurance company. Having seen circumstances where one neighbor’s actions damage an adjacent property, the insurance company covering the damaged property typically did the following:

  • Arrange living quarters (if needed)
  • Recommend a suitable contractor (usually a preferred vendor for the insurance company)
  • Cover the costs (minus the deductible)
  • Reimburse their costs by going after the property insurance of whoever caused the damage in the first place (this is actually common and usually amicable process, in my experience)

Call Insurance

Find people to help you cover any roof or exterior wall damage with heavy tarps. Walls can be reinforced with plywood patches.

Rain is your house and personal property’s worst enemy. You can’t leave it exposed to the elements.

Tarp it and then work with the insurance company to arrange repairs.

When the tree fell on my roof and cracked the main roof beam, I called my insurance company.


I continued to live there while the roof, beam and chimney were replaced/fixed.


All good advice so far. If you’re not sure how much of the house is damaged, you might want to turn off the gas at the meter before you head for the hotel.

If your neighbour is using an electric saw outside in the rain the only professional needed will likely be a mortician. He’ll be stopping at their house alone so you’ll not have to prepare for anything other than the zoom funeral.

Mallard, four or five months ago a lost ambulance made its way up my driveway and the thought that they were looking for the neighbors’ house definitely crossed my mind.

My business is restoration. I’m the guy that comes and inspects your house when you call your insurance company. If something needs to be done immediately we take care of it. If your house is on fire call the fire department and then your insurance. If you have been robbed call the police then your insurance. Otherwise just call insurance. If you know a good tradesman who can make necessary emergency repairs you can call them and keep the invoice.

Generally a restoration contractor is going to have the expertise and tools to deal with residential disasters. If you don’t know someone, your best bet is to use the contractor recommended by your insurance.

Not everything that happens to a home will be covered by insurance, but Insurance will still pay us to inspect to determine if the damage should be covered. If it is not a covered loss we will tell you who you need to call to get things fixed.

We are the people that tarp up your roof at 3 am.