Weather damage has insurance, tree companies busy


By Kalea Hall

khall@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

It’s been a busy week for local insurance agencies, tree-removal companies and fire departments.

High winds and heavy rain caused damage to homes and businesses throughout the Mahoning Valley on both Sunday and Monday afternoons.

“We have been busy,” said Jim Stacy, owner of Timberwood Tree Service of Canfield. “We have quite a bit lined up.”

This week, Stacy’s business saw an increase in calls for services for trees that hit properties and houses.

Before the severe weather hits, homeowners should know the state of the trees around their property or call a tree company to see if they are dead or if there are any dead limbs that need to be cut down, Stacy said. Too much weight, a hard wind and shallow roots can cause the tree to topple.

“Fall is a good time of year to look for damaged limbs or stress on the trees,” Stacy said.

If a tree does fall, there are various steps homeowners should take to get the tree removed safely.

First, if there are wires down around the tree, the fire department should be called.

“If they have structural damage, they should call immediately,” said Andy Frost III, Austintown fire chief. “Any time wires are involved, you should call.”

The fire department will contact the electric company and also check the structure to make sure it’s safe. On Monday, the Austintown Fire Department had 30 calls for wires and trees down.

After calling the fire department, homeowners should assess the damage and take pictures for documentation, insurance agents say. Filing a claim really depends on the severity and cost of the damage.

“We recommend you call us,” said Kira Ramsey, general manager of The Agent/Geisler Insurance offices in Boardman and Poland. “Talk to your agent and they will advise you on the best options.”

Ramsey said there has been an increase in calls for potential claims because of weather-related damage.

“We have a claim specialist that has been nonstop,” Ramsey said.

Mike Kernan of Kernan Insurance Agency in Cornersburg and Poland said homeowners also were calling his office to report water damage resulting from power outages causing sump-pump shutoffs.

“We have seen a combination of everything,” Kernan said. “There’s not a whole lot you can do with mother nature. We are just thankful – it could have been a lot more serious.”

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