Those of us in Tornado Alley are no stranger to the destruction tornados cause. We know that the reality is that it can take years to truly rebuild a community after a tornado touches down. And, for many small businesses, even a moderate amount of damage can spell disaster.

What makes small businesses more vulnerable?

It is not location or popularity itself that makes a small business struggle to rebuild. Big box stores get tornado damage, too. But the scale and resources needed to rebuild a business, reinvest in stock and recover your customer base is wildly different. The Walmarts and Targets of the world have legions of attorneys and high-value insurance coverage that makes rebuilding easier and faster than it is for mom and pop stores.

The story is familiar: a small business owner appears on the news, talking about how their store—their livelihood—is gone. The insurance money is taking too long or is being denied, so they open up a crowd-funding campaign. The only other option is a high-value loan they may never be able to pay back. A year or so later, the store is gone.

Demanding timely and complete insurance settlements is the best path forward

Many fundraisers fail to meet their goals. Loans may not be enough, and the math often doesn’t add up. What you can do is demand that insurance companies pay you the full amount to which you are owed. This includes for your stock, lost profits and property. It may be a struggle; many need to work with a law firm to get their fair compensation. However, it is a way to get your best possible chance at reopening.