Tips For Filing A Tornado Insurance Claim
Tornadoes are one of the most devastating natural disasters that can strike any area. They leave behind a trail of destruction and loss. While there is no way to completely avoid the damage caused by a tornado, having the right insurance coverage can help reduce some of the financial burdens that come with such an event.
Filing a tornado insurance claim can be a complicated process, but with the right knowledge and preparation, it is possible to receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to from your insurance company. Now, as a policyholder, there are some guidelines you should follow when filing a tornado insurance claim to increase the odds of having it approved.
Guidelines For Filing A Tornado Insurance Claim
Filing an insurance claim in the aftermath of a tornado can be frustrating due to the extensive damage that needs to be documented, the emotional stress of the situation, the potential for delays and disputes with the insurance company, and the possibility of inadequate coverage.
However, with the right tips and guidelines, the process of filing a tornado claim can be a lot easier. Here are some tips to help you file a successful tornado insurance claim:
1. Know Your Policy
Before a tornado strikes, you need to understand your insurance policy and what it covers. You should review your policy and make sure that you have adequate coverage for tornado damage. Some insurance policies may not cover all types of tornado damage, such as flood damage. Make sure you know what is covered and what is not, so you can file a claim accordingly.
2. Document The Damage
After a tornado damages your house and personal belongings, it is important to document every single one of them. Take pictures and videos of the damage, and make a list of all the items that were destroyed.
You should also take steps to prevent further damage, such as boarding up broken windows or covering holes in the roof. Keep all receipts for repairs or replacement items, as these will be needed when filing the claim.
3. Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you have documented the damage, contact your insurance company as soon as possible. The company will likely send an adjuster or an insurance agent to assess the damage and determine the amount of compensation you are entitled to. Make sure you provide the adjuster with all the information he or she needs, including the list of damaged items and any receipts for repairs or replacement items.
4. Be Prepared To Negotiate
Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and they will often try to pay out as little as possible for claims. This is why you must be prepared to negotiate with your insurance company if you believe that the compensation they are providing is not sufficient to recover your loss. You may need to give additional documentation or get an independent appraisal to support your claim.
5. Hire A Public Adjuster
If you are having difficulty getting your insurance company to pay out a fair amount, you may want to consider hiring a public adjuster. Public adjusters are professionals who specialize in helping policyholders get the maximum compensation they are entitled to. They can negotiate with your insurance company on your behalf and help you navigate the claim process.
6. Keep Track Of Additional Living Expenses
If you are forced to leave your home due to tornado damage, keep track of any additional living expenses you incur, such as hotel stays or restaurant meals. Many insurance policies include coverage for additional living expenses, so make sure you keep track of these costs and provide documentation to your insurance company.
7. Be Wary Of Scams
Unfortunately, tornadoes often attract scammers who try to take advantage of people in distress. Be wary of anyone who offers to help you file your insurance claim for a fee, or who asks for personal or financial information. Always verify the identity of anyone who claims to be an insurance adjuster or representative.
8. Consider Hiring A Contractor
After a tornado, you may need to hire a contractor to make repairs to your home. Make sure you hire a reputable contractor who is licensed and insured. Ask for references and check online reviews before making a decision.
9. Understand The Claims Process
The claims process for a tornado insurance claim can be lengthy and complicated. Make sure you understand each step of the process and ask your insurance company any questions you have. Keep track of all correspondence and documentation related to your claim.
10. Review Your Claim Before Submitting
Before submitting your tornado insurance claim, review it carefully to make sure all information is accurate and complete. Double-check the list of damaged items and make sure you have included all relevant documentation. Submitting a complete and accurate claim can help expedite the process and increase your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.
11. Document Pre-Existing Damage
If your property had pre-existing damage before the tornado, document this before filing your claim. This can help you avoid disputes with your insurance company about what damage was caused by the tornado versus what was pre-existing.
12. Don't Delay Filing Your Claim
It's essential to file your insurance claim as soon as possible after a tornado. Delays in filing your claim can result in delays in the claim process, and you may miss out on certain benefits as well.
13. Don't Make Repairs Until You Get Approval
Before making any repairs to your property, check with your insurance company and make sure you have approval. Your insurance company may require you to obtain multiple repair estimates. Be sure to follow their guidelines.
14. Follow Up With Your Insurance Company
If you have not received a response from your insurance company, follow up regularly to ensure that your claim is being processed. It is also crucial to keep a record of all communication with your insurance company.
Learn How to Get Full Payment for Your Claim
If your insurance provider refuses to honor your claim, the Voss Law Firm can help you get paid for your losses—and potentially more. Call us at (888) 614-7730 or complete our contact form today to get answers to your questions, or start reading your copy of our free book, Tricks of the Trade: How Insurance Companies Deny, Delay, Confuse, and Refuse.