Tornado Damage Claims

Tornados can leave complete devastation in their wake. A tornado is classified as a wind event in your homeowners insurance policy. Most homeowners insurance policies cover damage to your property and personal items from a tornado. We recommend you read through your policy to determine if there is a separate wind deductible that could include tornado damage. This separate deductible requires policyholders to pay a sum out of pocket before their insurance pays for the claim.

In the event your home is unlivable after a tornado, relocation or temporary housing expenses may be covered under your insurance policy. You should review your insurance policy to determine the extent of your coverage. If your insurer is delaying or denying your payment, contact Merlin Law Group to allow us to assist with your claim.

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Tornado Damage FAQs
Our Attorneys Answer Your Questions

There is no such thing as tornado insurance. Insurance policies consider tornadoes to fall under the wind damage classification. Damage from a tornado falls within the purview of a standard homeowners insurance policy, not a specific type of tornado insurance.  

Most homeowners insurance policies will cover damage to your home and personal belongings from a tornado. Any other damage sustained as a result of the tornado (i.e. water damage) may or may not be covered depending on any named exclusions in your policy. Supplemental insurance may be required to ensure you are covered on all fronts.

If your policy contains any anti-concurrent causation clauses your claim could be denied. These clauses dictate that when two perils occur simultaneously and the homeowner is only covered for one, the insurer will not cover the damage. For example, if your home sustains damage from a tornado and flooding, your claim may be denied because your policy excludes damage from flooding.

Merlin Law Group recommends that your policy covers your home and valuables at their replacement cost value (RCV). This coverage reimburses you for the cost to replace the damaged property with materials of similar kind and quality.

Another option is to opt for actual cash value (ACV) coverage, which is cheaper regarding your premiums but not as robust in terms of reimbursement. Insurance companies can utilize three different approaches to calculate ACV—fair market value, replacement cost minus depreciation, and the broad evidence rule.

The broad evidence rule determines the protocol insurers must use when determining the value of damaged property. This rule does not feature one specific method toward this goal, but mandates insurers use the method which most accurately represents the actual cash value of the property.

The broad evidence rule uses several factors to determine actual cash value. These include things like market value, replacement cost, location, condition of the property, and age to name a few.

Total losses typically invoke the maximum settlement possible in accordance with the terms of your homeowners insurance policy.

It is recommended to file your claim as soon as possible after a tornado loss.

We have experienced attorneys who specialize in gaining prompt and fair pay for tornado insurance claims. View our attorney directory here.

Ways To Prepare
For Potential

What To Do If
Your Home Has
Been Damaged By
A Tornado

  • Secure any items or furniture that are not attached to the property.
  • Store any important documents in a safe place.
  • Prepare with your family be making a safety and/or evacuation plan.
  • Keep a battery-operated flashlight and radio.
  • Survey the damage to your property and be sure to document with photographs.
  • Review your insurance policy to determine what level of coverage you have.
  • Contact your insurer to file a claim.
  • Consider working with a public adjuster or damage assessment expert to obtain a report on the extent of damage.

Twelve Tips for Making a Claim for Tornado Damage to Your Property on Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

There are some things you can and should do when a disaster strikes your property after a tornado. Check them out on the Merlin Law Group blog.

Tornadoes are Windstorms and Often Have Subtle Damages Which Can Be Significant and Easily Overlooked

Following a tornado, we advise having a qualified engineer inspect your building for subtle but significant expected results from such severe winds.

What on Earth is a Gustnado?

Find the answer and why it can be easily mistaken as a tornado in our blog. 

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