TORNADO INSURANCE LAWYER
Tornado Damage? Here is What You Should Do Next
Around 1,200 tornadoes touch the ground in the U.S. each year. They take lives and cause billions in damage to homes and businesses.
While most homeowners policies cover tornado damage, some insurance companies will underpay or deny payment on a claim due to technicalities. If this has happened to you, a skilled attorney with experience in insurance claim denial can review your case and tell you your legal options.
Common Tornado Damage
Damage caused by a tornado can range from minor roof or building wind damage, to a major disaster with leveled buildings, flipped cars, debris fields, and smoke and fire.
If your home has some or all the following damage, your homeowners’ policy should cover it:
- Siding and roof: Including broken or missing roof shingles; dents, chips, and dings in the roof; roof decking damage; roof displaced or torn off.
- Floors and walls: Cracked interior walls; bowing walls; separated from roof; water damage; floor cupping.
- Frame: Twisted, bent, or broken framing; damaged welds on trusses and beams.
- Foundation: Cracks or separation from uplift.
- Gutters and windows: Debris may damage glass, shutters, panes, and screens.
- Exterior: Garage door damage; landscaping; chimney; roof vents; fencing.
- Plumbing and electrical systems
What To Do After A Tornado
Your safety is most important. Once the tornado passes and you can ensure the home or building is safe for you to go inside, it is important to take steps to mitigate possible damage and contact your insurance company immediately. If you do not do what you can to reduce damages, problems can result with the insurance adjuster.
You have a duty to prevent further damage to your property, or the insurance company may deny your claim. Actions to possibly take include:
- Turn off water or gas if there is a leak.
- Make temporary repairs, such as covering a roof hole or broken windows to avoid water damage.
- Move wet belongings to a dry location.
- Wash and dry items when possible.
- Document all damage to your possessions and property. Make a list of damages, take videos and pictures, save receipts for temporary repairs.
If the insurer rejects your claim unfairly, you may have legal remedies to this problem.
What Does Insurance Pay For?
A regular homeowners’ policy should cover any tornado damage to the property. It also should cover your personal property inside the house. This coverage should be for damage from wind, lightning, rain, or hail that commonly come with a twister. If your home suffered so much damage that it is unlivable, your policy should cover temporary living arrangements, too.
You should understand that your policy probably mandates the insurance company to cover the actual replacement cost of the damaged home. There usually is no age depreciation.
Even if the home does not have catastrophic damage, you still may be eligible for coverage for roof replacement and repairs. Some tornadoes cause problems that are subtle but significant. For instance, the sealant strips that hold the roof together may be broken by damaging winds and you might not see it. Strong tornado winds may damage joints, clips, and nails, too.
Your home must be completely checked for damage after a tornado. Not recognizing subtle tornado damage can cause expensive maintenance months or years down the line.
Make sure your insurance adjuster is inspecting for less obvious tornado damage. This damage needs to be covered. If it is not, you could have legal recourse with a tornado insurance attorney.
Note: If your policy has any language about anti-concurrent clauses, the claim could be denied. An anti-concurrent clause states that when two dangers occur at the same time and the policy only is covered for one, the insurance company will not cover damages.
For instance, if your home is damaged from flooding and a tornado, your homeowners’ claim could be denied because the policy excludes flooding damage.
Ideally, your policy covers your property and possessions at their replacement cost value or RCV. This type of coverage will reimburse you for the cost to replace all damaged property with materials of similar quality and kind.
How Insurance Companies Deny or Limit Coverage
You have paid premiums for months or years in case of major damages from a weather event such as a tornado. Unfortunately, insurance companies make money by collecting a lot of premiums and making limited payouts. Some insurance companies will attempt to underpay you for damage done inside the property, although the tornado damaged the exterior, which led to interior damage.
Insurance policies that cover damage from tornado winds can be under several labels in the policy, such as storm, tornado, windstorm, or weather insurance. Whatever the coverage is called, the company may attempt to deny coverage. This can happen even if you have an all-risks insurance policy.
If the insurance company’s behavior is inappropriate, you might be able to take a bad faith action against it. For a full recovery under your policy and for bad faith legal action, it is vital to have an experienced tornado insurance attorney working with you. These skilled legal professionals know how to negotiate with stingy insurance companies and get them to pay for your losses.
Get a Complimentary Review of Your Tornado Damage Claim
Was your tornado damage claim underpaid? Was it denied? A tornado insurance lawyer can go over your case. They can determine if your homeowners’ insurance company is treating you fairly or not on your claim. We can help, call us today!
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701 Poydras Street
New Orleans, LA 70139
Call or Text: 504-313-3800