Approximately 1,200 tornadoes hit the United States every year causing more than $50 Billion in economic losses, and $35 Billion in insured losses.
Since the damage that they cause can be very extensive and costly, business owners need to know how to handle their tornado insurance claim in order for it to go smoothly.
In this guide we’ll discuss:
- What to do if your commercial property sustains tornado damage
- Recommendations on changes to your current insurance policy to make sure you’re covered for the future
- Precautions to take to make sure you get the settlement needed to return your property to its original condition or be made whole financially
How Tornado Insurance Coverage Works
Homeowners insurance protects your house and your belongings. For example, after a storm, your house and the contents within it may be damaged. As a result, you submit a homeowners insurance claim.
The majority of homeowner insurance policies include dwelling coverage. Therefore, your home is covered by dwelling coverage after a significant event, such as a house fire, windstorm, or tornado.
Personal property coverage, which is typically included with home insurance plans, reimburses the cost of replacing or repairing your things after a loss.
Here’s how these plans work for the majority of tornado damage claims:
Your home is protected against windstorms and tornadoes when you purchase dwelling coverage.
Personal Property Coverage
Personal property coverage covers the cost of repairing or replacing damaged or destroyed belongings inside your home. If a tornado destroyed your computer, for example, you could make a personal property coverage claim for the value of your computer.
You should be able to file a claim for your home and personal property damage due to the storm. However, before you proceed with your claim, verify whether your policy covers windstorm or tornado damage.
Providing photographs of the tornado damage (which should include other buildings or structures that appeared to be damaged by a tornado), insurance certificates indicating that tornado coverage was included on the policy, email communications with persons whose property was damaged who witnessed the storm approaching before it hit, and so on can all assist you in obtaining compensation.
What damage does insurance cover?
Homeowners’ insurance and renters’ insurance cover the costs of most perils, including tornadoes, hurricanes, severe storms, rain, wind and fire. Condo insurance covers personal belongings and several structural parts of the property, such as the drywall.
Renters Insurance will normally pay just for your belongings, excluding appliances, whereas your landlord’s insurance should cover the building portion of the flat. At around $500, landscaping features such as plants and trees are typically covered.
The condominium association’s insurance is necessary to reimburse damage to the condo, according to Worters.
What Tornado Insurance Does Not Cover
Flood damage and water damage are not covered by tornado insurance. There’s a chance that a claims adjuster will visit those who have this sort of coverage to their location so they can inspect the damage and see whether it fits within the terms of the policy or not.
If this happens, you’ll need to provide evidence of your coverage as well as information about where you stand. Flood damage can’t be compensated for by tornado insurance, which covers water pooling on the ground, standing water in only one location, and so on. It cannot also be repaired if anything else happens, such as a burst pipe or shattered window allowing rain inside the business property.
What about uncovered losses?
You can deduct non-insured private property losses if a federal declared emergency is to blame. To get them added, subtract $100 from the losses. The total number should be more than 10% of your adjusted gross income. For assistance with the expenses of disasters that may occur, you can also apply for low-interest long-term federal loans from the Small Business Association.
Up to $250,000 for repairs or replacement of your primary home, plus up to $40,000 for possessions. It would help if you also chose when to take the deduction to increase your tax refund or speed it up.
What about mold and water damage?
Homeowner’s insurance generally covers mold damage brought on by a hidden danger. Mold isn’t typically covered by house insurance. For example, although floods are infrequent, flooding is rarely insured under house insurance policies.
If your roof has been damaged by an exceptional storm but not a flood, the windstorm coverage will not cover water damage; however, it will compensate for any structural damages that resulted from the storm.
What about flood damage?
Floods are not covered by windstorm insurance; nevertheless, you can obtain separate flood insurance if the property is in a high-risk zone.
Flooding necessitates personal flood insurance; nevertheless, it cannot be compensated for through wind storm coverage. Mold may develop wet insulation from the wind or hail, which is not covered by an insurance professional. Mold isn’t a hazard in and of itself; rather, it’s caused by moist insulation from the wind or hail.
Watch out for wind deductibles.
In states with strong severe storms, the deductible is generally more prevalent. These are usually between 1% and 5% of your home coverage. When a house in the $300K category has the lowest wind deductible, it must pay out $15,000 before insurance starts to apply. Oklahoma, Texas, and the Midwest with extreme wind storms are all notorious for having high wind deductibles.
What to do after a tornado hits
Assess your tornado damage coverage, and read your insurance policy
If you have home insurance, it is likely to cover most tornadoes. Check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see how much it currently covers. Read the policy carefully, and check for any changes or addendums that may affect your coverage.
If a tornado hits your region, you will know if you have substantial damage, but it is critical to assess if you’ve even had minor impairment. To assess the severity of a tornado’s impact on your property, conduct a full site inspection.
Begin by conducting a visual inspection of the property. Examine your roof, windows, and siding.
Look for missing shingles or flashing, damaged gutters, and siding pieces that have been broken or split.
Look for cracked, dented, or split wood shingles if you have them. Also, look for divots, cracks, or obvious signs of damage to the shingles (such as soft spots or indications of damage) with asphalt or composition shingles.
Your roof’s soft metals may be damaged. Check the flashing, vents, chimney, air conditioning units, exhaust caps, and other soft metal components of your roof for any dents or physical damage.
Finally, inspect your window frames and gutters for physical damage.
Shingles may not appear to be damaged after a tornado, yet they may have serious damage due to granule loss. Granules on your shingles can be destroyed by hail and wind-blown debris. In addition, your shingles’ granules can be lost, causing them to become less efficient. As a result, they no longer wick moisture as effectively, resulting in moisture accumulation beneath them.
For all of these reasons, a professional roof inspection is critical following a tornado or significant windstorm. Contact a licensed Public Insurance Adjuster for a no-obligation consultation if you need assistance inspecting the damage, dealing with the insurance company, or making a tornado damage insurance claim.
The Insurance Claim Process
Many property owners have never dealt with a tornado damage insurance claim. Unfortunately, your insurer may attempt to take advantage of this, forcing you to accept less money than you are entitled to. Here is how a typical tornado damage insurance claim works:
- You suffer the loss, see the damage, and report it to your insurance provider.
- Your insurance provider sends an adjuster to your property. You may be there during the examination, but you aren’t required to be. The assessor will examine the exterior of your house for obvious signs of damage, including the roof.
- If your roof is damaged, the insurance adjuster may perform a 10′ x 10′ test to see if there’s enough damage to justify a claim. If there are more than a specific number of dents, bruises, or breaks in the test square after the test is completed, your insurance company should cover the repairs.
- The insurance provider may give you a choice of contractors. Alternatively, you may decide to hire your contractor.
- After your roof is damaged, a contractor repairs it to the condition before the loss.
Before or after the contractor performs repairs, your insurer may pay you. The insurance usually issues a check for the real value of the property within a week of the inspection. After the repairs are finished, your insurer may send you another payment.
In an ideal world, your contractor repairs all of the damage caused by a tornado completely, returning your house to its previous condition. You’re satisfied with the work and get compensated fairly by your insurance company.
Unfortunately, many homeowners are unhappy with their tornado damage insurance claims. Insurers may deny claims, and contractors might provide low-quality repairs, leaving you dissatisfied.
Documentation is Critical for a Tornado Insurance Claim
As long as you can provide substantial evidence that you were affected by tornado damage, including photos of tornado damage (which should include what other buildings or structures looked like and provide email correspondence with others regarding tornado damage) while the tornado was in progress, then it is much easier for you to get paid from your tornado damage claim.
You should also be aware of other things such as flood and water damage that tornado insurance won’t cover, but you should still report all tornado damage to your insurer.
When to Call a Public Adjuster
We highly recommend talking to a public adjuster even if you plan on managing the claim yourself. We know what’s being denied, what insurance companies are being especially aggressive in their denials and are always happy to share that knowledge free of charge.
If your claim is complex, for more than $100,000, or if you see any indication of hesitancy to pay from the carrier – this is the time to consider engaging a professional team.
How do I make sure I have the right tornado insurance policy?
The most efficient approach to assess the damage caused by a tornado is to look at your homeowner’s insurance coverage. Examine your deductible for wind and hail, as well as roofing coverage, and the kind and amount of coverage for personal belongings. This is also an excellent opportunity to begin recording all of your belongings.
If a storm destroyed your house and you can’t return, upload all of your items to a cloud storage service to assist with the recovery process. Save pictures to storage services for use in a claim. If a tornado strikes your area, this amount of insurance coverage is more than what you would receive in an insurance claim. In general, you will be covered under insurance.
The average cost of Tornado insurance
The average insurance premium for a house in the United States is roughly $475 to $475. Due to the increased risk of wind storms, houses in danger zones pay a premium. However, because of wind-resistant glass, you may often get a discount on your insurance.
In addition, premiums for houses with new roofs are generally lower, and claim ratios are frequently higher. Insurance companies examine various risk factors and claim history when determining how much of a risk your house is.
How do I choose the right tornado insurance?
A tornado can wreak havoc, and a severe storm might even bring down a house. Wind damage is usually included as part of a homeowner’s insurance policy. If you want more extensive wind damage coverage, this should be simple to do. Your broker should be able to help you with obtaining tornado insurance. Take steps to get your insured policy approved for damage caused by tornadoes in the United States. For more information on your website, please click here.
Tips to prepare your home in the event of a tornado
If a tornado warning is in effect, a Tornado Watch must be issued. A tornado signal has detected a storm. Warnings are described as dark purple clouds, strong winds, and the sound of a train.
In Conclusion: Prepare, Document, and Call an Expert
In an unfortunate turn of events, many homeowners are dissatisfied with their tornado damage insurance claims.
Insurers may deny claims and contractors might provide low-quality repairs leaving you unhappy. That’s why it is important to do your research before deciding on a contractor or insurer for roofing services following a storm.
If you’re wondering where to start in the process, we can help!
Our team specializes in helping clients through every step of the claim from assessing the damages to choosing a qualified contractor that will ensure quality workmanship when repairing your home after it’s been damaged by weather-related disasters such as storms and tornados.
With over 30 years experience working closely with insurers across North America, our experts have seen just about everything that could go wrong during this type of disaster claim.
By carefully looking over the damages and following our tips, you can ensure that your insurance claim not only gets to where it needs to be in a timely manner but gets there with the best possible settlement for your loss.
Call us with any questions!