Tornado Damage Insurance Claims

Understanding Tornado Damage Insurance Claims

Recovering tornado damage insurance claims is always heartbreaking as they are invariably one of the most damaging and potentially deadly weather phenomena dealt with on a regular basis.  What makes them so dangerous is their volatility, variance of severity, and unpredictability.  Policyholders with tornado damage are often given little warning before a destructive funnel cloud is bearing down on their property.  Beyond the threat to safety and life is the immense threat to property that comes to those homes and businesses that find themselves in the path of a damaging tornado.   Once the dust has settled and damage can be assessed, insureds are often faced with a long road to recovery.

The Tornado Damage to My Property Doesn’t Look Extensive, should I hire a public adjuster?

After a tornado loss there may be additional property damages that a public adjuster can identify to ensure you’re getting everything owned under your policy.


My property is a total loss after the tornado, do I need a public adjuster?

The answer is most likely no, you do not need a public adjuster.  However Prime Adjustments will review your policy and offer to ensure you’re receiving everything owed.  They are paying the policy limits but are they paying additional living expenses?  Is your insurance carrier paying for all your contents?   Are they paying for Law and Ordinance coverage you may have?  These are all issues we will look at to ensure you’re properly paid on your tornado damage insurance claim.


Tornado Damage Facts and Figures

Though tornadoes occur in many places worldwide, the United States experiences more than any other country worldwide.  According to NOAA, about 1,200 tornadoes impact the U.S. yearly, dating back to 1950, when official records of tornadoes began being kept.  Below are some important facts and figures as it relates to how tornadoes impact the United States.

Tornado Insurance Claims

In the aftermath of a damaging tornado, insureds are left in a variety of situations, with some having experienced a total loss of their property and others having sustained varying degrees of damage.  One of the unique aspects of tornadoes is their ability to cause both widespread and acute damage to property, totally destroying one building and seemingly leaving the one next door untouched.  The good news is that a tornado damage insurance claim is generally covered under most property insurance policies.  In addition to coverage for property damage, most policies afford coverage to replace lost personal items, find temporary housing, and/or cover business interruption if your property is deemed unusable or unlivable.  In the aftermath of a tornado, it is important to do the following;

  • Mitigate Against Further Damage: Depending on the severity of the damage to your property, it is important to make sure exposure to the elements or potential additional perils do not cause more damage than the tornado.  This could mean anything from tarping a portion of the roof, making sure water and gas are turned off, or conducting temporary repairs to secure the property.  It is the insured’s responsibility to mitigate against further damage after a loss.  This can be difficult after a catastrophic event like a tornado, as some affected areas may be inaccessible.
  • Review your Policy: Your insurance policy is the primary governing document of your claim and potential indemnification after a loss. It is important to review your policy, looking specifically at limits for varying coverages, deductibles, your responsibilities as an insured, and claim deadlines. In the event you property is rendered uninhabitable or unsuitable for its intended use, it is also important to understand what time-element coverages you have available (ALE/BI). If you have questions, or are unclear of your afforded coverages, reach out to a reputable public adjuster or attorney to review your policy and go over your coverage with you.
  • Notify Your Carrier: Once you have a clear understanding of the coverages and conditions in your policy as they apply to the tornado loss, it is important to provide notice of your claim to your carrier as soon as reasonably possible. It is important to understand that carriers will often be overwhelmed in the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic weather event.  Getting your claim in early, along with being patient and persistent aid in expediting the claims process.  Be sure to get clear answers, in writing, from your carrier regarding the process, timelines, and commitments.
  • Document the Damage: to the best of your ability, take as many photos and videos that you reasonably can of the damage sustained to your property and personal items. Begin to compile a list of lost or damaged items.
  • Source Temporary Housing: If your home is rendered uninhabitable, most insurance policies afford coverage for temporary housing, food, and personal items in the form of additional living expenses coverage. In the aftermath of a disaster it can be a challenge to find alternative housing.  Do not feel like you need to sacrifice your standard of living in the interest of securing temporary housing at a lower cost.  ALE coverage may be subject to both time and monetary limits, but should afford you reasonable accommodations, meals, and personal items consistent with your living situation before the loss.
  • Consult with Experts: If you are feeling apprehensive, overwhelmed, or just have questions about your tornado claim, reach out experts in your area to assist you in how best to proceed. Experienced public adjusters and attorneys will be able to provide insight into your options from a policy or regulatory standpoint, while reputable contractors, engineers, and environmental specialists will be able to provide guidance on what needs to be done in order to restore your property to pre-loss condition.

If your property has sustained damage from a tornado and are unsure on how to proceed with your tornado damage insurance claim, reach out to Prime Adjustments for a free review of your tornado claim.


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