Tips for Tornado Damage Insurance Claims Infographic
How to Get the Payout You Paid For
The First Steps
Tornado damage is devastating. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth tornado damage insurance claim:
- Secure the scene. Call 911 if necessary. Protect life before property. Ensure all people and pets are safe.
- Contact your insurer. Your insurer can explain the next steps. You may receive emergency funds for a hotel. Or, the insurer may dispatch a 24/7 contractor to your property.
- Document damages. Take photos and videos of the tornado damage. If you want insurance to cover it, having photos will help.
- Get multiple estimates. Tornado damage insurance claims are complicated. Contractors may have different ideas on how to proceed.
- Wait for repairs. The contractor repairs or restores your property to pre-loss condition. For severe damage or structural damage, your insurer may pay for a new home.
- Consider hiring a Public Adjuster. If your insurer pushes back, or if you’re unsatisfied with your claim, consider hiring a Public Adjuster to manage your tornado claim and increase compensation.
How Much Does Tornado Damage Restoration Cost?
In 2021, tornadoes caused over $3 billion in insured losses across the United States.
- National Average Cost: $4,300
- Average Range: $3,000 to $25,000
- Minimum Cost: $2,600
- Maximum Cost: $300,000+
How Insurance Covers Tornado Damage
Insurance covers tornado damage like it would cover any big storm:
Windstorm Damage Coverage: A standard homeowners insurance policy includes windstorm damage coverage, which covers damage to your home, property, and possessions from tornado winds.
Water Damage: Tornadoes can cause water damage to your home, tearing off your roof and forcing rain inside your home. Homeowners insurance covers this water damage.
Property & Possessions: If a tornado damaged your property and possession, insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing everything (aside from your car, which falls under auto insurance).
Tornado Damage Insurance Exclusions
Some homeowners insurance policies exclude tornado damage in various ways:
Wind Damage Exclusions: If you live in a wind-prone or tornado-heavy area, then your insurance may exclude windstorm damage. In these areas, most homeowners pay extra for windstorm coverage.
Flood Damage Exclusions: A standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damage. If a tornado causes waters to rise and enter your home, a standard policy will not cover the resulting damage.
Wind-Driven Rain: Some insurance policies exclude wind-driven rain. If the tornado drives rain into your home and causes damage, then insurance may not cover it.
Previous Damage Exclusions: Insurers may deny claims because your home was already damaged. If a previous storm damaged the structure of your home, for example, and you didn’t repair it, then your insurer may deny future claims.
Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost Exclusions: After a tornado, insurers may pay less than expected for your possessions. If you have an actual cash value policy, for example, then insurers cover the value of your possessions minus depreciation. That could mean receiving just $500 for a $2,000 TV purchased two years ago.
How Public Adjusters Help
Public adjusters help homeowners navigate tricky tornado damage insurance claims by:
- Inspecting tornado damage in all areas of your property
- Expertly handling claim from start to finish with your best interests
- Analyzing policy to ensure maximum coverage
- Negotiating with insurer on your behalf to maximize compensation
- Speeding up claims process using decades of industry experience