America's #1 Insurance Lawyer Offers Helpful Tips to Those Affected by Devastating Tornadoes in the Mid-West

As the victims start to recover and repair, there are going to be plenty of people with questions about where to start, how to pay for the damage, and what's covered under their insurance policies.

May 20, 2013

Tornado season is in full swing this year. Last week, at least 10 tornadoes hit North Texas, leaving six people dead, dozens injured, and hundreds of homes destroyed. One tornado that hit the Rancho Brazos subdivision near Granbury destroyed nearly 100 homes and displaced 250 people. Less than a week later, several tornadoes struck parts of Oklahoma and Kansas with the National Weather Service predicting more activity for today and tomorrow. These storms killed two people and destroyed entire subdivisions in Oklahoma.

"The start of spring marks the beginning of severe weather season and an increased risk of property damage, especially for those in tornado alley or on the east coast. The incidents in Texas, Oklahoma, and across the midlands this past week are horrible tragedies. As the victims start to recover and repair, there are going to be plenty of people with questions about where to start, how to pay for the damage, and what's covered under their insurance policies. While steps should be taken now to prepare for such deadly storms, the after the fact questions are important to understand," says Frank N. Darras, America's top insurance lawyer.

Victims who have had homes damaged by wind, rain, hail, floods and tornadoes should first call their insurance company or agent with their policy number and all relevant information. It's essential that these insurance documents are kept in a waterproof safe so as not to risk losing them in the storm.

After calling the insurance company, victims should do the following:

  • Take photos or video of the damage
  • Make necessary temporary repairs to prevent further damage, but stay away from making any permanent repairs
  • Save all receipts, such as those for materials to make temporary repairs, hotel stays, food, etc.
  • If home is unlivable, check to see if coverage for additional living expenses incurred while repairs are being done is covered under the policy

"Taking these critical steps as soon as possible and cooperating fully with the insurance claim personnel are the keys to having your home repaired quickly and completely. Make sure to ask them what forms, documents, and data they will need to provide to process your claim promptly and fairly. Also check before making any major repairs, even temporary ones. While they will likely tell you to make temporary ones to prevent more damage, making permanent repairs prior to the insurance company inspecting the property can cause additional delay or denial of your claim. Always talk with them first," says Darras.