Written by Andy Gurczak

September 28, 2021

Tornado Damage Insurance Claim

Whether your homeowner’s insurance helps cover tornado damage depends on where you live. It also depends on the type and amount of coverage you have and what causes the damage. For instance, hail from a tornado can quickly cause devastation to your home, not just it’s winds. This is why understanding the tornado damage insurance claim process is crucial for recovery and repair.

Here are some things to consider about homeowners insurance and coverage for tornado damage.

Tornado Damage Insurance Claim for Wind Damage

A standard homeowners insurance generally covers certain common perils, such as wind and hail. In addition, most home insurance policies include dwelling coverage. It’s meant to cover repair or rebuild costs if the wind from a tornado damages your home. Meanwhile, personal property coverage may help pay to repair or replace damaged or destroyed belongings.

However, in states where hurricanes, windstorms, and tornadoes are more common, insurance companies may exclude wind damage from standard policies. For this reason, it’s essential to read your policy carefully. So fully understand whether it includes coverage for wind damage.

If your policy excludes windstorm damage, it probably will not help cover the cost of repairs of tornado damage. In that case, you might have to get a specialized insurance add-on.

Tornado Damage Insurance Claim Wind Damage

Tornado Damage Insurance Claim for Flood Damage

Although tornadoes often bring heavy rains, it’s essential to understand that homeowners insurance policies generally do not provide flood coverage. So, even if your policy offers protection against perils like wind, damage caused by flooding likely would not be covered. To insure your home from flood damage, you might have to purchase flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Regardless, home insurance may offer compensation if rainwater gets into your home because your roof was damaged by wind or hail. But only if your policy includes coverage for these types of perils.

Tornado Damage Caused By Trees

Tornadoes may also cause trees to fall, which can damage your house or car, as well as other people’s property. However, whether or not your insurer will help pay for damage depends on your policy’s coverages. For example, if wind caused the tree to fall onto your home, and your policy’s covered perils include wind, your insurer will likely help pay for repairs.

Meanwhile, suppose a maintenance related issue caused the tree to fall on your home. In that case, your homeowner’s insurance policy probably won’t pay for repairs.

Tornado Damage Insurance Claim Tips:

Most insurance companies will try to control the insurance claim process to benefit their interests. However, if you are well educated in insurance claim advice, you can ensure you stay in control. In fact, you can even avoid delays or a low settlement for your tornado damage insurance claim. Here are a few key tips to ensure your tornado damage does not turn into an insurance claim nightmare.

Tornado Damage Insurance Claim Tip #1: First, call your insurance carrier immediately to report tornado damages.

Whenever you suffer a weather related loss, you should report it to your carrier as soon as possible. First, it is a requirement of the policy to do so. Second, after a local storm, insurance companies will become swamped with policyholders’ claims. Therefore, the sooner you call, the better customer service you will receive and the faster you’ll get started with repairs.

Moreover, another good way to handle your insurance claim is by requesting a certified copy of your insurance claim from the very first call. This way, you can be up to date with the policy and insurance process. In addition, make sure you compile a detailed personal property inventory of lost or damaged items.

Include everything from expensive jewelry to toilet paper. Make a note of the item, description, age, quantity, and cost to replace. Be sure to have it handy when you file your insurance claim.

Tornado Damage Insurance Claim Tip #2: Second, document tornado damages to your property.

There are numerous ways to document your damages, so be sure you take advantage of all of them. Don’t rely on your insurance company to do this for you, since its your responsibility to prove your losses to them. Instead, take pictures and videotape the premises. Remember the inventory we mentioned before? It is extremely useful for this part. Everything should be documented so that you can be reimbursed fully. Furthermore, be sure to document every point of contact with your insurance adjuster and the insurance company. It will help if any negotiations arise.

Tornado Damage Insurance Claim Tip #3: After, mitigate damage.

It is your responsibility post-storm to protect your property from any further damage. In fact, failure to comply could result in denial of coverage. Below are a few points that may need to be addressed in order to fulfill this obligation:

  • Boarding up windows, doors, or entryways to prevent trespassing
  • Demolition of damaged building components, if proven to be unsafe
  • Mitigating any water damage or mold by removing carpeting, drywall, etc. For example, tarping up a hole in the roof.
  • Relocating to a temporary location if your property is uninhabitable.

With this in mind, remember to save all receipts for storm-related expenses.

For instance, these expenses can include mitigation costs or any additional living expenses. Therefore, it is vital to keep all of your receipts for the costs you incurred that resulted from the storm. Always keep your receipts, no matter how inexpensive the item may have been.

You can ask for an “advance payment” from the insurance company so you can take care of these expenses.

Tornado Damage Insurance Claim Mitigate Damage

Tornado Damage Insurance Claim Tip #4: Estimates, estimates, estimates

Understand the “damage repair estimate” that the insurance company adjuster provides you. If they have not offered one, ask for it right away. Preferably obtain at least two independent estimates to repair your home structure to its pre-loss condition. A qualified public adjuster or general contractor can help. So demand in writing a copy of all damage repair estimates from your insurance adjuster or insurance company.

When reviewing the repair estimate, look for the “10 & 10” on the totals page of the estimate. This refers to the standard 10% extra for overhead and 10% extra for contractor’s profit written into many policies and sometimes paid as part of the claim.

Tornado Damage Insurance Claim Tip #5: Finally, you might need extra insurance coverage/endorsements.

Many cheaper standard home insurance companies pay on an “Actual Cash Value” basis. In other words, replacement cost minus depreciation. Therefore, this clause depreciates property 50%-70%, drastically reducing the final payment. This is open to negotiation, and newer buildings should not depreciate that much.

However, there are other types of coverages, such as Replacement Cost and Guaranteed Replacement Cost. This means to cover your damage more approximately to the original value of the damaged property. It’s best to be aware of what type of coverage you have before you have to file a tornado damage insurance claim. However, it’s never too late to improve your home insurance coverage.

Tornado Damage Insurance Claim Extra Coverage

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