Tornado After-care?

April 19, 2011

If you live in the mid- or southwest, you’ve probably heard tornado sirens once too often. In fact, as I’m writing this, we’re under a tornado warning here in Texas. We’re not likely to see any damage in my neighborhood, but all across the country people have died in tornadoes in the last week. It’s pretty awful.

As with hurricanes, most of the damage from tornadoes is covered by your existing homeowners, condo, or rental insurance policies, and fall into the “windstorm” peril listed within. Hail is also specified in some policies, generally in regions where hailstorms are common. In addition wind and hail damage to your car is covered if you have a “comprehensive” policy.

So what should you do if you’re affected by such a storm? The Property Casualty Insurers of America (PCI) has this advice:

  • Call your insurance agent or insurance company immediately.
  • As soon as it’s safe to do so, inspect your home and cars for any damage.
  • Make a list of any missing or damaged items, and take pictures of damaged structures, vehicles or possessions. If you still have the original receipts for those items, find them.
  • Take steps to prevent further damage to your property, or to ward off possible thieves.
  • When dealing with repair contractors, run background checks. If necessary, you can ask your insurer for a recommendation.
  • Keep detailed records of anything you spend – from repair costs to emergency housing – until your home and/or auto are restored to normal conditions.