Seemingly appearing from nowhere, tornadoes have the ability to leave destruction in their wake within minutes. Approximately 1000 tornadoes hit in the United States in a typical year. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the devastation they leave behind causes billions of dollars of loss. The damage can often times be a total-loss, and that results in a serious insurance claim for property owners.
The Facts on Tornadoes
Though they do occur in many shapes and sizes, tornadoes generally take the form of a narrow funnel. The funnel is a revolving column of air. This column is connected between the earth’s surface and a cloud (most often a cumulonimbus cloud). There are more violent tornadoes that occur in the United State than in any other country. Compared to any country in Europe, the chance of a tornado occurring in the United States is four times greater. Within the United States, the majority of tornadoes occur in a region appropriately nicknamed “Tornado Alley.” Tornado Alley averages 1,200 tornadoes each year.
Insurance Policies on Tornadoes
The majority of property insurance policies grant coverage for damage or loss caused by tornadoes. The policy may not specifically reference tornadoes, as they are often covered under the umbrella term of “windstorm” or “wind event.” These terms cover not only tornadoes, but also hurricanes and straight line winds. It is important, however, to be familiar with your policy, as there may be some instances where overages and deductibles might only apply to hurricanes and not to all windstorms.
The Cost of Damages Caused by Tornadoes
Since 1950, the majority of tornadoes have taken place between April and July each year, although they can and have occurred in every month. Tornadoes can be incredibly destructive, resulting in tremendous costs. From 1993-2012, The Insurance Information Institute reported the average insured loss per year to be $7.78 billion for severe thunderstorm events. This included tornadoes. 2011 was estimated to be the costliest year, with approximately $27 billion in insurance claims from those events. Reports from The Storm Prediction Center show that Tornado Alley has been the location of seven of the ten most expensive tornadoes since 1950. The 2011 tornado in Joplin, MO is number one on that list, with approximately $2.8 billion in damages to the city.
Steps to Take After the Tornado Damage
There is no question that the aftermath of a tornado will interrupt your everyday life, and it may take a while to recover. First and foremost, contact your insurance provider immediately. You will probably need to request a copy of your homeowner’s insurance policy, if it is not accessible from your home. Next, focus on shelter. After natural disasters like tornadoes, many communities come together to aid and assist those who were impacted. Your safety and finding suitable shelter is top priority. Your local authorities may be able to provide safe shelter for you and your family. If you do have to relocate as a result of tornado damage to your home or have other out of home expenses, those may be covered under your tornado insurance policy.
Once you have secured shelter, you will need to make a detailed inventory of all damages for your insurance company. It is also important to make any small repairs that you are capable of handling in order to prevent further damage. Keep an inventory of expenses for the repairs you complete as well. As you proceed with the claims process, it is critical to document all communication between yourself and the insurance company. Be persistent and ask for frequent updates on your tornado insurance claim.
When the Insurance Company Does Not Respond Appropriately
Contact our law firm today or complete our free case evaluation form if you believe any of the following apply to you:
- Your insurance company has denied a property damage claim you submitted as a result of a tornado.
- You feel that your insurance company has offered you a less than compensative amount.
- Your insurance claim has not been processed or has been delayed for unknown reasons.
You may be entitled to compensation, and our firm can help you get the money you deserve. Our professional team has expertise in handling tornado insurance lawsuits, and we have a successful track record with these cases. Contact us now.