Living in Oklahoma means having to deal with insurance claims for tornado damage. We have tornados almost every Spring.
The damage caused by tornadoes can be catastrophic. The aftermath can leave whole towns devastated. Comfort can be found in knowing that a homeowners insurance policy can help with repair of the damage.
Many of today’s homeowners insurance policies will contain language providing coverage for wind, wind-driven rain, trees or other falling objects, and collapse of the home. An insurance policy may not technically say that it covers tornados, But, there’s likely coverage for the types of damage that typically come from a tornado.
If you’re a property owner, it’s important to know if tornado damages are going to be covered if a tornado strikes. You don’t want to be surprised after the roof blows off. You need to know when you purchase the insurance if something isn’t covered. You find out by reading the policy.
Insurance policies usually contain exclusions and limitations as to coverage. If you’re an adjuster, it’s your job to figure out if these exceptions to coverage apply. You may want to talk with coverage counsel about the policy language. Insurance coverage can be tricky. You don’t want to tell the insured there’s not coverage, then find out you were mistaken.
Looking at past claims for tornado damage, it appears some homeowners don’t understand the terms of their insurance policy before a tornado strikes. Statistically, 64% of policyholders have been found to have their homes under insured. The various exclusions and limits reduce the amount available. A study showed that many homes were only insured for 81% of the cost to rebuild the house.
As a homeowner, sometimes we don’t always realize how much we own. It’s also easy to forget the cost of housing keeps going up.
In the event a tornado carries away your house,, then you’ll want to recover 100% of the home value. If you haven’t bought the right amount of coverage, there just won’t be enough to put back to the same position.
Roughly 1,000 tornadoes hit the United States every year. Most of these tornadoes touchdown in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Nebraska, but can occur anywhere in the United States. Tornado warning systems have on average a 13 minute lead time with a 70% false alarm rating. Tornadoes can happen during any time of the year, but they most frequently occur in the Spring time. If you have a tornado claim, insurance is there to protect you and your family from the loss. Always keep in mind, the house and contents can be replaced, they are merely property.
Before the next Oklahoma tornado touches down, you should review the insurance policy and reevaluate the value of your home. Renters and homeowners alike should take inventory of all personal belongings and compare these with their insurance policies. Again, it’s easy to not to realize how much you have accumulated. You want to be fully covered if a storm destroys it all.
Understanding the coverage, exclusions and limitations can help with the settlement process. Tornado claims are no different than other claims. There’s either going to be coverage or there’s not. If you’re faced with a storm claim with coverage questions, give us a call before the denial.
Our Tulsa based law office has experience in tornado coverage. We have reviewed claims in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Skiatook, Sapulpa, Stillwater, Cleveland, Foyil, Muskogee, Moore, Sand Springs, Norman, Broken Arrow, Enid, and all over the state of Oklahoma helping both homeowners and adjusters understand the coverage. Call us 918-940-2222.