Tornados can wreak havoc on your life, but upwards of 50% of the injuries that occur due to this natural disaster can happen after the tornado has already passed. In fact, the CDC reports that up to ⅓ of the injuries that occur after a tornado are a result of stepping on nails. Cleanup and recovery efforts can be extremely dangerous, and if you’ve been recently affected by a tornado, then you’re probably already well into the cleanup process.
Immediately After the Tornado
If you’ve been affected by a tornado recently, then you’re likely already covering many of these immediate post-tornado tasks such as checking for injuries and ensuring the safety and security of your home. In general, these beginning stages of the recovery process should be handled with extreme caution. Follow a few of these tips:
Inspect the Damage
Once everyone is accounted for and safe, you’ll begin to assess the damage of your property. With tornados, houses can be completely demolished, or wind damage may have simply threatened the integrity of your house without causing total loss. If you suspect any damage to your home, shut off electrical power, natural gas, and propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution, or explosions.
During the process, be sure to contact local city and/or building inspectors and hire contractors to help. Always keep receipts for hired help, as it can become an essential piece to getting the most out of your insurance claim.
Prepare for Insurance
With safety secured, it’s time to start preparing yourself for the claim you’ll file with insurance. As we’ve mentioned before, keeping a record of any work you’re getting done by contractors is important, but you’ll also want to keep record of moneys spent for alternative housing, repairs, and all damages. The more you record, the more likely you are to get a larger settlement.
If you’re starting the process of filing with your insurance, ask a question with one of our experts for FREE!
You do all you can to prepare yourself and your property for the worst. You research insurance companies, review coverages, and spend hundreds of dollars insuring your property should disaster strike. Then, the unthinkable happens, and your property is damaged or destroyed -- but you remember that you’ve purchased insurance, and you’re immediately put at ease.
That is, until your claim is denied.
There are a multitude of reasons why your claim may be denied, and while your insurance may give you some insight as to why the denial occurred, there is typically more that you can do to get your damages covered. While you shouldn’t HAVE to fight to get the coverage you paid for, the fact of the matter is that insurance companies are a business. As such, they operate by in order to make the most money.
Insurance companies literally bank on the fact that policyholders are willing to accept whatever the insurance company says is true.
That means that insurance companies get to retain more of their money if you simply accept their first response that they won’t be paying for your claim. The good news is that there’s typically a threshold for how much time they’re willing to invest having to converse with policyholders versus what it would cost to just pony up and pay the claim. And typically, you’re entitled to that payment in the first place anyway!
Firstly, there are times when it’s appropriate to disagree with your adjuster while still abiding by the policy. This can gain you more compensation for damages or losses. In fact, some adjusters may be providing false or misleading information which can be detrimental to your claim.
While you shouldn’t have to fight for your claim, the fact of the matter is that claim denials need to be fought if you truly want the compensation you deserve. To prevent the likelihood of claims denials, be sure to prepare yourself beforehand. You can download a free report <<HERE>> to get started.
If your claim isn’t fulfilled in full, then it’s time to buckle down and prepare for a fight. You pay your hard-earned money to ensure that your property is insured, so fight to get your claim completely fulfilled by the insurance company. Review your policy, your rights, and your maximums, and be prepared to file an appeal if need be.
When devastation happens, the last thing you want to worry about is double-checking the work of insurance companies, adjusters, repairs, etc. Arm yourself with the preparation and knowledge you need to look after your own assets and be sure you receive the proper compensation from your insurance company.
After a disastrous weather event, property owners are left with the destruction in its wake. Piecing together your items and figuring out what needs to be repaired can be a painful experience, but it doesn’t have to be when it comes to dealing with your insurance. Your coverage may include the types of damage that has been inflicted on your property, but understanding exactly what damage has occurred is one of the first steps in the claims process.
Storms bring with them several elements that can destroy your property. Here are the three biggest types of damage that can occur during a storm:
1. Roof Damage: The most common types of shingles used in America are asphalt, which are made primarily of asphalt that has been reinforced with other materials and then coated with granules which reflect UV rays to help preserve the integrity of the shingles for longer periods of time. During a storm, these shingles can be severely damaged or even swept clean off of your roof.
Some of the damage you could see on asphalt shingles may not be as obvious as you’d think. For instance, hail can simply shear off the metal granules, leaving a ‘bruised’ area on your shingle. Other high-wind storms like tornadoes may cause splitting or cracking in the shingles themselves or even total loss of the shingles.
Unfortunately, when shingles are damaged or destroyed, it leaves your wood roof underneath open to further damage like wood rot and leaking. You may not even realize the damage until you begin experience leaks within your house, so always be sure to have a professional inspect your roof for signs of damage after a major storm.
2. Exterior Damage: Different sidings that are common are vinyl, stucco, and paint, and each of these can be quickly damaged in a severe storm. Hail, wind, heavy rain and flying debris are common causes of exterior damage. Cracking, denting, and chipping of these exteriors can threaten the integrity of your house, so always inspect your house’s exterior for obvious signs of trauma like discoloration or chipping.
3. Window Damage: Protective storm shutters are found on many houses that are located in high-wind or high-risk tornado areas. Even with these shutters, windows can become damaged. Chips in the glass or outright shattering may occur, exposing your house to the elements. Shards of glass can become a safety hazard, so tread carefully and board up areas where windows have been damaged until a replacement is installed.
It’s easy for homeowners to identify many severe damages, but after a severe storm, it pays to hire a professional to ensure that nothing has been overlooked. Filing an insurance claim should be done quickly if your home has suffered storm damage. Learn more about how to ensure that your adjuster pays for 100% of the damage <<HERE>>.
Floods can wreak havoc on your property, and the damage can range from minimal to total loss. Items such as furnishings, clothing, and your home itself can fall prey to the devastation that comes when the flood waters rise. At the same time, while some damage may happen immediately, other types of damages don’t arise until long after the water has receded.
Damage from floods can become worse within the first 24 hours after the event, and more problems can arise when the damage isn’t tended to quickly. It’s important to seek the assistance of a professional quickly after a flood to not only assess the damage but to begin repairs. The water extraction and restoration process can be extensive, but the quicker it’s done, the less likely you are to suffer even further damage to your property.
Flood waters can damage your property in a variety of ways. Filing a claim, should you have flood coverage, will involve ensuring that you’ve included everything that the flood has damaged. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different types of flood damage:
In the First Hour: The damage in the first hour occurs quickly and, thus, is difficult if not impossible to prevent. The upside is that these damages tend to be less extensive than the ones that arrive later. These damages could include:
In the First Day: In the first 24 hours after a flood event, more extensive damages begin to occur. While not necessarily irreversible, these damages can become severe if the water extraction process isn’t started soon.
In the First Week: When water is not extracted within the first 24 hours, more permanent damage is likely to occur. This can include structural damage, which can threaten the safety of your house. More costly and complex restoration efforts will likely need to be made for many of these issues.
It’s important to assess damage and immediately begin restoration after a flood in order to reduce the likelihood of damage escalation over time. Be sure to always keep records of every item that has been damaged as well as the costs for repairwork and temporary housing elsewhere if need be.
Once flood waters begin to subside, many are left with devastation in its wake. For some, the destruction amounts to total loss. For others, salvaging what’s left of their material possessions can be a long and arduous process. Starting the process of piecing together your home after a flood can be painful, but knowing where to start can help you hit the ground running in the recovery process.
Insurance companies bank on the fact that you just want your life back to ‘normal’ as quickly as possible. Before you rush to get your settlement money, be sure to follow these tips on what you need to do after a flood.
Once the threat is over and the damage is done, then it’s time to start piecing together everything to get a better understanding of the total loss of your property. Remember that even areas that were just quickly touched by flood waters can become moldy over time, so you’ll need to have your home inspected by a repairman to assess the true damage so that you can file for the appropriate amount for your claim.
The end of October was marked with casualties and disaster for many areas of Texas. A band of storms spawned numerous other weather events like tornadoes and floods, causing devastating property losses in the region as well as 5 deaths attributed to weather-related phenomenon.
The reason for these deaths and much of the property losses is due to flooding, but these deaths may have been avoided if precautions had been taken to avoid the area. For instance, one of the deaths was the result of a man trying to drive to his home to assess the situation after he had heard of flash flooding. He was consequently swept away in his vehicle on the way back.
It may seem obvious to avoid flash flood areas when the alerts are issued, but here are some tips to protecting yourself during flash flooding:
When a flood is upon you, it pays to always be overly cautious. The moment you or your vehicle is swept away can be life-threatening, so take proactive and defensive measures to protect yourself. If a watch is issued, then that means that flooding is possible in your area, so stay tuned to your TV, move valuables to higher ground, and evacuate if you’re told to do so. A warning is much more serious and means that you may only have seconds to escape. Immediately seek safety, and don’t try to outrun the flood. Instead, immediately abandon your vehicle and seek higher ground.
Property can be replaced, but lives cannot. Take extra precautions during flash floods to ensure that you and your family is safe.
In late October this year, several areas of Texas experienced flooding and other severe weather phenomenon that caused damage and even death. A band of storms spawned numerous other weather events like tornadoes and floods, causing devastating property losses in the region as well as 5 deaths attributed to weather-related disasters.
When flash floods strike, you’re already behind the eight ball when it comes to protecting the lives of you and your family. If you live in flood-prone areas especially, it’s important to prepare you, your loved ones, and your property before the flood hits. Be ready before the flood by following a few of these safety tips.
Remember that power could be cut off for days in the case of flooding, so keep portable versions of all standard items such as light and heating elements available. Stock food items that don’t require refrigeration, and watch the Weather Channel for updates on the weather situation at hand.
When you need to file an insurance claim for lost or damaged property, you’ll likely be met with more than a few terms that you may not fully understand. Rather than assuming their meaning, it’s always best to comprehend all aspects of the claims process in order to ensure that you’re getting the settlement you’re entitled to.
You’ve likely heard of the idea that you can buy a car brand new, but as soon as you drive it off the lot, it loses half of its value. Regardless of whether or not this is entirely true, the idea is legitimate.
Depreciation is one of those terms that can be confusing to property owners. It deals with the value of your property and the loss of its value over a given period of time. RCV represents the current cost of repairing the item or replacing it with a similar one, while life expectancy is the item’s average expected lifespan.
Depreciation is typically calculated by evaluating an item’s Replacement Cost Value (RCV) and its life expectancy.
The value of any given item will depreciate over time; that is, it will start to decrease in value from its purchase date. There are a variety of factors that go into determining how much an item may depreciate, such as:
Most insurance policies operate in a similar fashion when it comes to dealing with depreciation. For these policies, claim reimbursement begins with an initial payment for the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of your damage, or the value of the item at the time of the loss. Then, one may also have replacement cost coverage which helps to cover some of the moneys that would have been lost due to depreciation. In these cases, reimbursement may involve multiple payments –
So what needs to happen is that for every item that has been lost or damaged, you’ll have to calculate what it’s currently worth based on a few factors. You’ll need to find a comparable item in today’s market to get the RCV. Then, based on a depreciation percentage for your item (which you’ll need to get from your insurance company), you’ll see how much of that value is lost based on how many years you had the item and what condition it was in at the time of purchase. The RCV less the depreciation costs will equal your ACV.
From there, you’ll subtract your deductible amount to get your net claim amount. If your depreciation is recoverable, then you can add that factor back into the claim amount as well. To make your life easier, be sure to inventory all of your lost or damaged items in an easy-to-navigate spreadsheet where you can insert all of these values. For items where you have receipts, you’ll be in an easier position.
Have you ever had to deal with property theft or loss, and when you went to file your claim, you came across the term ‘perils’? Insurance perils, also known as ‘open perils’ and ‘named perils’, is simply the cause of a loss. But understanding the full scope of what an insurance peril is can help you better understand your coverage, and this can be extremely useful when choosing your coverage as well as when you need to file a claim.
As we’ve stated before, insurance perils are the cause of loss of your property. This could include:
If you have a ‘named perils’ coverage, then that means that you’re likely operating under a more restrictive policy in terms of what your insurance would cover in the case of property damage or loss. It’s also important to note that a dwelling policy usually provides coverage for both the dwelling and its contents on a named perils basis. On the other hand, a homeowner’s policy usually provides coverage for the dwelling on an ‘all perils’ basis, while the contents would be then covered on a ‘named perils’ basis.
If your policy is a package policy, then it’s likely covered for many - but not all - perils. It will usually provide coverage for multiple perils and even extended coverages beyond the named perils. Extended coverage may include coverage for the perils of windstorm, hail, explosion, riot, civil commotion, aircraft, vehicles, smoke, vandalism, malicious mischief, theft, and breakage of glass.
When shopping for an insurance provider and the right coverage, it’s important to understand which perils you’re most likely to face. For instance, those living along the Gulf of Mexico may be at a higher risk for hurricanes than someone in the northern states of North Dakota. Separate policies may be required for those who live in areas prone to certain disasters.
Most property insurance policies exclude coverage for losses resulting from earthquakes (although they often cover losses related to fires following earthquakes), so those living in areas prone to earthquakes (such as people in California) may want to consider purchasing separate policies to ensure coverage against losses from earthquakes. Flooding is another one of those perils that typically isn’t included in insurance policies, so those who live along a body of water would likely want to consider purchasing additional flood insurance coverage as well.
Consider deductibles in addition to which perils your insurance covers too to ensure that you’ll be covered most appropriately for your location and risk factors.
When disaster strikes, it may make sense to pick up everything as quickly as possible so that you can resume life as usual. Unfortunately, many insurance companies rely on that eagerness, as policyholders tend to miss important pieces to their claim. In the end, the insurance company is likely to profit from your rush to get a settlement, and they’re hoping you’re in a hurry to be done with the entire ordeal.
While you’re probably already feeling stressed and anxious about getting your settlement from the insurance company, it literally pays to take your time during the claims process. Here are three big reasons why you shouldn’t rush to get your settlement after a property loss.
Get advice from an experienced attorney before you sign any type of waiver form, as this is your only shot at getting the settlement you deserve. Don’t accept any checks with words like “full” or “final” “settlement” printed on them, and understand that your policy does not require you to sign away any legal rights in order to get paid fairly for a covered loss.