Denied Tornado Damage Claims Attorney
Unpredictable and sudden, tornadoes are some of the most violent storms on earth. Because of how frequently they can arise, they tend to cause more damage than their larger counterpart, hurricanes, do on a yearly basis.
The US experiences more than 1,200 tornadoes every year. In fact, the US is a hub for storm activity, with about 75% of the world’s tornadoes occurring in the continental United States.
If your home was damaged in a tornado, you rely on your property insurance company to cover your loss. However, if an insurer refuses to pay, or quotes you an insufficient amount for repairs, you may not know where to turn for help. Insurance companies seeking to protect their own bottom line can make a bad situation worse.
The average person doesn’t want to have to worry about negotiating for compensation—they just want the insurance company to step up and do what they promised they would do in the first place. Let Wallace Law help you get what you deserve from an insurance company seeking to renege on a contract. Our tornado damage lawyers fight insurance companies so you don’t have to.
Increasing Rates of Tornado Damage
Over recent years, the United States has seen increasing rates of tornado damage and more claims made to insurance companies. As the tornado season becomes longer, stretching even into December in recent years, there have been increased reports of storm damage. Analysts attribute the heightened rates as being linked to global climate change, and note the increased market pressure put on insurance companies to keep up with emerging weather risks.
Additionally, the urbanization of rural areas has increased the chance of a tornado affecting a more populated area. The number of tornado reports has increased steadily by an average of 14% per year since the mid 1950s. In the US, annual aggregate losses from severe thunderstorms (including tornadoes), account for over half of all catastrophic losses since 1990. In recent years, covered losses due to tornadoes in the US cost the insurance industry around $5 billion.
Does Insurance Cover Tornado Damage?
Most basic homeowner and commercial policies account for tornado damage. Unlike floods or earthquakes, which often require special coverage, wind storm damage is included in most general insurance policies. Actual cash value policies (ACV) are set up to pay you what your property is worth in the event of a loss. Meanwhile, replacement cost value (RCV) policies cover the cost of replacing your damaged property with new property of the same type and quality.
Tornado Damage: Examples and Long-Term Consequences
Common tornado damage to the home or property area includes, but is not limited to:
- Roofs: A tornado most often affects roofing. There may be missing or broken roofing shingles, dents, chips or cracks in existing roofing, or entire portions of the roof torn or blown away. Detached gables or chimneys are also common in tornado events.
- Walls and floors: The interior and exterior of walls may be damaged, especially in cases where windows were left or broken open during the storm. Exterior siding may be damaged and become exposed.
- Structural damage: In severe cases, a storm may leave the frame and foundation of your home or commercial property with structural damage that needs to be remedied in order for it to become usable again. At other times, there may be subtle issues caused by a tornado, such as roof sealant and fastener wear, that jeopardize the overall structural integrity of your property over time.
- Windows and doors: Broken windows are especially common in the event of tornadoes. Unlike in hurricanes, often times homeowners only have time to shelter themselves and family members, and not a chance to board up and protect vulnerable windows and doors. Flying debris can smash window panes, as well as tear shutters and screens.
- Gutters: Gutters may be torn away entirely in a tornado.
- Electrical damage: One kind of lasting damage that can occur in a tornado is electrical damage. Electrical damage leaves your home at risk future concerns, such as fire.
- Plumbing damage: Flood water as a result of a tornado can be a risk to your home’s plumbing. Additionally, standing water left after a major storm can lead to contamination of drinking and bathing water, as well as electrocution risk from downed power lines.
- Gas leaks: Gas leaks are a particularly dangerous possible outcome from a severe tornado. Infrastructural damage from a major storm can lead to further problems down the road for your home’s livability and resale value.
What to Do When Making a Tornado Damage Claim
A good tornado damage policy can help you repair damage, restore value to your property, and ensure that your home stays safe after a dangerous weather event. Some policies even help cover the cost of temporary housing while you are having work or repairs done to your property after the storm.
- Protect your own safety: Never walk in standing water after a storm, and look out for downed power lines, trees or other dangerous areas after a tornado. Remember that there may be structural damage to your home. When in doubt, protect yourself and your safety first.
- Document the damage: As soon as you know it is safe to do so, document the damage done to your home. Take pictures or videos that show the state of the roof, windows, doors, and every area of your home that may have been affected.
- Make a list of supplemental damage: Some policies cover your valuables and other property that may have been damaged or affected by the storm. Others cover your pets, including veterinary and burial expenses for weather-related injuries.
- Get your home professionally inspected: For all that they are extreme weather events, tornados can cause additional damage that may be difficult to spot with the naked eye. Some long-lasting damage after a tornado may involve roofing sealant or extreme wear and tear on fasteners. Having your home fully inspected after a storm can save you headaches later on.
- Get in contact with your insurer: File a claim with your insurer either online or over the phone. Keep records of your conversation, and ensure that your documentation of the damage is received.
- Speak to an insurance dispute lawyer if your claim is undervalued or denied: If your tornado damage claim has been denied, you have the right to request an explanation. You also may be able to file an appeal. Don’t let an insurance agent take advantage of your inexperience. Get help from the experts at Wallace Law to understand why your tornado damage claim may have been denied, and what you can do about it.
Why Home Insurers May Deny Tornado Damage Claims
As tornado damage claims have increased in recent years, home insurers may attempt to protect their own bottom line by reducing the amount of money paid out to claimants. Some home insurers may attempt to argue that some home damage was caused by flooding, and not by the tornado, even though these two events are often linked. If your contract contains anti-concurrent clauses, the claim may be plausibly denied. If not, you may have a case for an appeal.
An experienced tornado damage lawyer can comb through the fine print of your insurance company’s contract in order to save you time, money, and headaches. Insurance professionals have years of experience and training in how to utilize the boundaries of their contracts in order to pay the lowest rate possible and save their company money. You should be represented by someone with an equal amount of expertise and know-how when it comes to fighting back.
Contact a Tornado Damage Lawyer for Help
With the help of an experienced tornado damage lawyer, you can make the strongest possible case to your insurer about every area of coverage that you need. In the event that your appeal is denied, you may even be able to take your case to court.
A tornado can be a dangerous and traumatic event to live through. Fighting with the insurance company is the last thing you need after going through such an extreme circumstance. If you need help, contact Wallace Law today and find out how we can build a case on your behalf.