Tips for Your Tornado Insurance Claim
Updated: Feb 7
Here are a few key tips to make sure your tornado damage does not turn into an insurance claim nightmare:
Take pictures and video of all the damage. Include photos of your neighbors' houses and adjacent property so the insurance company can see what damage they sustained as well. Then, take more pictures of the inside and outside of your house.
Make sure your insurance company pays you first, not a roofing company or contractor. Never sign over (“assign”) your insurance payment to a 3rd party contractor.
Secure your property! Board up damaged windows and doors and have a tarp installed over any damaged roofing. If the property is your home and you are not going to stay there overnight, notify the police so they can keep an extra watch on the property.
Ask for an “advance payment” from your insurance company so you can at least start to make temporary repairs.
Understand the "damage repair estimate" that the insurance company adjuster provides you. If they have not provided one, ask for it right away!
When reviewing your insurance company’s repair estimate, look for the "10 & 10" on the totals page of the estimate. This refers to the standard 10% extra for overhead and 10% extra for contractor’s profit that is written into many policies and sometimes paid as part of the claim. This is a hotly debated issue in the claims community. If a roof claim is the only damage incurred, then an insurer may take the position you are not going to use a general contractor. Thus, they will not pay for any profit and overhead. However, some companies will pay you the 10% overhead if you are supervising the roofer, under the theory that you will have cost and time in this project. Their position on the 10% profit is that you should not profit from your loss. The entire 10 and 10 is generally considered to be a carryover issue from past years, as most honest contractors we know tell us they cannot stay in business under these terms. Their real profit is built in the line-by-line estimates that carry a higher profit margin. Try to work this out with the adjuster if this comes up or call us. These issues may well be covered in court cases, which need to be taken into consideration given how the courts have looked at the policy and terms in past years.
Understand your insurance company’s depreciation calculations. Most insurance companies pay on an “Actual Cash Value” basis (Replacement cost minus depreciation) and will depreciate buildings 40%-80%, drastically reducing the final payment. This is open to negotiation and newer buildings should not be depreciated that much.
In disaster situations, the demand for building/roofing materials naturally increases. The estimated cost of repairs accounted for in your insurance company’s estimate will most likely be lower as the demand/price of building materials increases. Make certain that you are paid the full amount on the front end so you do not have to go back to ask the adjuster for more in a supplement. The estimated wait time to have an adjuster re-inspect your home/business is over 2-3 weeks and you may not have the same adjuster as he/she will most likely go back home to the respective state they flew in from.
Contact the Claim Warriors today to start the process of a proper and equitable recovery to your tornado or other wind storm damage claim.
Contact a public adjuster from the Claim Warriors if you have a question or would like a free consultation about your tornado or other wind storm damage insurance claim or call (833) 633-6639.