Tornado Insurance: Do you have it?
After the initial relief of surviving a tornado that hits your home, apartment or business, you will quickly start wondering about whether or not you have tornado insurance, and what kind of coverage it might or might not provide.
If you live in “Tornado Alley”, a term the media most often uses to define an area between the Appalachian Mountains and the Rocky Mountains in the United States where tornadoes most frequently occur, you may be surprised to learn that many insurance companies are starting to exclude certain coverage in high-risk areas of the country. These exclusions exist in other areas of the country as well, mostly in the south. Worldwide, other countries with high-risk areas are experiencing similar exclusions.
Most policies cover what is called “wind events”, which include tornado damage. But the extent of that coverage, especially in tornado-prone areas, are what should be of concern to policy holders.
Best advice? Talk with your insurance agent specifically about “wind events”, particularly straight-line winds and tornados (if you live where you might also experience a hurricane, include that in your discussion as well).
If you do experience tornado damage, it is important to contact your insurance company in a timely manner. Many do not, and lose out on certain benefits they might otherwise have received.
What many do not realize is that damage from a tornado may not be readily apparent. Some damage may not become apparent for months or even years after the event.
This hidden damage can involve your foundation brickwork, siding, roofing, windows, window sills, plumbing, electrical, interior floors, and more. One thing to watch out for is uneven floors and cracks in your corners and above doors. As time goes on, watch for water stains or yellowing walls, which can be a precursor to mold.
Make sure you document everything including any damage you find, phone calls to your insurance company (make sure you keep track of the name of the person and the date and time), in-person visits, conversations with third-party inspectors, and anything else you can think of.
Many suggest getting an insurance loss inspection by an independent insurance appraiser or consultant. Many policy-holders simply accept what their insurance company’s adjuster says, without any outside counsel. Sometimes a second opinion is well worth any additional cost.
While you will normally find people most helpful and concerned about you and your family after a catastrophic event, unfortunately you are likely to encounter another class of people – predators. These people pose as repair or construction companies and handymen. Do not sign any contracts without due diligence including checking licenses, evaluating other work done and references, and first checking with your insurance agent. Many a policy holder suffers because they accept these con artists at face value.
The best time to review your coverage is before you need it. You do not want to find out whether or not you have tornado insurance, and how effective it is, after you need it. Click here for completely FREE home insurance quotes and save up to $400 or more.