Property damage caused from straight-line winds is considerable, often likened to damage caused by tornadoes. Straight-line winds have been responsible for ripping off roofs, breaking windows, peeling back portions of roofs, and causing utility poles and trees to fall onto buildings. When a thunderstorm produces straight-line winds, serious property damages can occur to homes and commercial buildings—such was the case recently in Alabama.
These winds can reach 80 miles per hour and higher and are common in the spring as weather fronts make their way across the country. Straight-line winds can occur anywhere, not just in the part of the country known as “tornado alley” (a broad swath running north-south from Minnesota/North Dakota down to Louisiana/Texas in which tornados are common). When straight-line winds cause property damage and homeowners have to submit residential insurance claims, here are the steps homeowners should take:
- Report the damage to your insurance agent. Give your insurer a description of the property damage and a working phone number so that an adjuster can reach you for follow-up.
- Make a list of damaged property. Hopefully you have a home inventory list that can help make this process easier for you. In any event, list the items that were damaged, when you purchased them, and the prices you paid. If you have receipts for any of the damaged items, make copies for the adjuster.
- Take photos of the property damage. If you don’t have a camera, you can use the camera on your cell phone or tablet. This way, you have visual evidence of your damages and are able to email the photos or send the adjuster a thumb drive of your photographs to help speed up the insurance claim process.
- Secure your home from further damages. Make necessary temporary repairs to prevent further damage. If you incur any expenses making these repairs, turn in a copy of your receipts to the insurance adjuster for reimbursement.
- Get an estimate for repairs. Contact a reputable contractor in your area to get a detailed estimate for repairs. The insurance adjuster will want a copy of the estimate as well.
According to the U.S. National Weather Service, straight-line windstorms produce property and crop losses totaling approximately $380 million and are the sixth most damaging type of severe weather event in this nation. Damages from straight-line windstorms are typically covered under most insurance policies; however sometimes policyholders have to fight their insurance companies for the coverage to which they are due.
The Voss Law Firm can help you fight for your fair recovery or appeal a denied insurance claim. To speak with a knowledgeable residential insurance claim attorney, call 888-614-7730 and request a free copy of our book Your Essential Guide to Residential Claims.