Rebecca Begaud's dog Finnigan surveying the damage done to their Bennett Court property.
Rebecca Begaud's dog Finnigan surveying the damage done to their Bennett Court property. Madura McCormack

What to do when a storm blows a roof into your yard

MORANBAH resident Rebecca Begaud was gearing for a day of storm damage clean up when she was faced with an obstacle --- there was a roof in her backyard, and she didn't know who to call.

"It's definitely a tricky one," she said.

"I walked outside ready to clean up and when you're by yourself, you think what am I going to do with this? There's a whole roof in my backyard."

RACQ spokeswoman Kirsty Clinton said the steps that needed to be taken would depend on individual circumstances, like whether the roof, or debris, was a safety hazard or a plain hazard.

"If the item is a safety hazard, if it is at a lean or at risk of falling over, take photos first of all for your insurer and then call SES so they can make the scene safe," she said.

"And then you need to ring your insurer and make a claim."

Ms Clinton said most policies included 'removal of debris' cover, but how long it takes for the insurer to organise clean up depends on what the item is and which specialist is required to remove it.

 

Damage done to Nick Martorana's house in Bennett Court, Moranbah, after cyclonic winds swept through the town.
Damage done to Nick Martorana's house in Bennett Court, Moranbah, after cyclonic winds swept through the town. Madura McCormack

A roof in a yard? That could take a few days.

"With these events, insurance companies do need to prioritise who needs help first, it might just mean we need to send the builder first to the house next door to cover up where their roof is missing, before we then get rid of the roof from your backyard if it's not hurting anyone," Ms Clinton said.

"Unfortunately we can't get it out of there as easily as the wind can get it in."

Ms Clinton said in the scenario where Bob's roof is blown into Mary's yard and crushes her trampoline, it is Bob's insurers who pay to get the roof out of Mary's yard, but it is Mary's insurers who reimburse her for the crushed trampoline.

If the resident does not know to whom the roof belongs, it is the responsibility of their insurer to track down the rightful owner.

Renters should call their real estate agent or landlord, who will then ring the insurer.

If the insurance policy does not cover debris removal, the home owner may have to shoulder cleaning costs.

"A trampoline on a roof, now that's harder to remove," Ms Clinton said.

She said the protocol remains the same - call your insurer, inform SES, don't risk your life, be patient.