After a tornado storm happens, it is important that you take a full inventory of the incurred damage and the extent of work that will need to be done. You should make sure that you take pictures as well, and this should be done before even making any emergency repairs. It is also advisable to call your insurance provider as soon as possible to inform them of the damages done. When contacting your insurer, get clarification on the time limit you have to file your claim and how long it will take to process the claim. If your windstorm insurance is tied to your renters insurance, your policy will state the time limit for you to file a claim. Typically, this period is between 48 or 72 hours. If it is under your homeowners insurance, you will have a maximum of one year after the event to file a claim.
After a tornado or related event, have an insurance adjuster come visit your home to assess all the damages done to your building and insured personal properties. Ensure that you keep all receipts for the expenses you incur on repairs after the storm. Verify your eligibility for loss of use and additional expenses coverage, and make sure that you demand and fill the appropriate claim forms as soon as possible. Note that it is your responsibility to protect your property from post-storm damage. Therefore, ensure you take steps to protect your property from further damage after documenting the initial damage already done. After the adjuster has made their report, the insurance company will make you an offer. Then payment will be made if you accept the offer.
Having an inventory at the time of purchase is useful when authenticating your claims and ensuring that all damages are fully accounted for and paid for by the insurance company.
If you have any issues processing your claim, you can contact a licensed adjuster or state-licensed insurance agent for assistance.
After a claim is filed, your insurance company begins processing the claim by sending the company adjuster to assess the damage. The company adjuster will inspect the property and interview you to get a true picture of the damage and ascertain how much the insurance company should payout. The adjuster will also discuss timelines and advise you on the next steps you need to take. After this, the adjuster will provide a report on the damages incurred. The report will include the extent of the damaged building or personal properties and how much should be paid to cover each damage.
Depending on the terms of your policy and the extent of damage, your insurer might make a claim payout directly to the contractor who will carry out the repairs or directly to you. In the instance where payment is made to you, it is typically done by check or a direct deposit into your bank account. Depending on the number of damages incurred, the claim check could be a single one-off check or multiple checks. Payments may also be made to your mortgagee if this is included in the terms of your mortgage.
Yes. A tornado insurance company can refuse to pay a claim if it believes the damage and the cause of the damage is not covered under your policy or it was not caused by a tornado. However, if this is not the case, the insurance company is obligated to make the payments. If your insurance company refuses to pay for what you believe is a valid claim, you can file a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance. You can file your complaint with the division using the complaint portal of the division or by calling (800) 252-3439. You can also file a consumer complaint online with the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General of Texas.
The time limits to when to file a claim might differ depending on the type of coverage and the provisions of your policy document. If your tornado insurance is included in your renters insurance, you might need to file a claim within a maximum of 48 hours of the incident. On the other hand, if your tornado insurance is included in your homeowners or commercial property insurance, you might have as much as one year within which you can file a claim. However, you should file claims immediately to avoid issues with delays in the evaluation process. To file a claim, contact the agent who sold you the policy, so they can help you, or speak with the insurer’s own (captive) agent to assist you with the claims filing process.
According to the Texas Insurance Code, insurance companies have 15 days to respond to claims with acceptance or rejection. After the response, they have another 15 days to conclude their investigations. However, in special circumstances where an insurance company can provide sufficient reason, an extension of 45 days may be granted.
You should not file a tornado insurance claim if the reason for filing is not one of those covered by your policy. You should note that insurance companies keep track of all claims filed, whether they are paid or not. Multiple claims, particularly within a short period, could increase your rates or even a rejection of renewal. Hence, before you file any claim, you should ensure that the damage is covered under your policy. Additionally, if the cost of repairs and replacement of the items damaged by the tornado can be covered by the price agreed as a deductible, filing a claim will be unnecessary. This is because you will still have to pay for the damage through the deductible, and your claim will be recorded, which could affect the cost of your insurance at renewal.
Discuss your tornado claims questions with knowledgeable and experienced Texas-licensed property insurance professionals.