Spring is here, and with it comes tornado season, which typically runs from April through June. This is especially problematic for Oklahoma residents who live in tornado alley, meaning that they’re at greater risk of being struck by one of these dangerous weather events.
Statistics show that Oklahoma averages 67 tornados a year, putting it well ahead of many other states in the region. These twisters oftentimes result in significant damage, too, reaching hundreds of millions, sometimes even billions of dollars’ worth of harm.
If you’ve been diligently paying your home insurance deductible, then you might feel a level of security. After all, if your home is damaged in a storm, you should be covered, right? Sadly, that’s not always the case.
Why insurance companies deny tornado-related claims
There are many reasons why insurance claims, including those related to tornado damage, are denied, delayed, or underpaid. Here are some of the most common:
- Lack of coverage: A lot of people think that because their homeowner’s insurance covers storm damage it’ll cover tornado damage. But given the high risk of tornado damage in Oklahoma, many times tornado coverage is sold separately. Therefore, your claim might not cover the kind of damage that you’re seeking to repair.
- Inadequate documentation: The insurance company is going to want extensive proof of your damage before they’ll approve your claim. If the information that you provide to them is lacking, then your claim will probably be denied or delayed.
- Disputes as to the extent of damage: You and your insurance company may not agree on the amount of damage that’s been caused to your home by a tornado. In these circumstances, you might see your claim delayed, reduced, or outright denied.
What can you do to protect your interests?
When preparing your initial claim, you need to make sure that you gather everything you need to maximize your chances of succeeding on your claim. This may include doing each of the following:
- Document everything: Make sure that you’re being as diligent as possible in capturing the damage that’s been caused to your home. Take pictures of the damage and consider taking a video recording if you think that paints a better picture. Also, make a list of the damages that you’ve suffered, including the loss of any personal belongings.
- Review your policy: By doing this, you’ll have a better sense of your coverage and how you can argue that your claim fits under your policy.
- Consider a public adjuster: Although the insurance company is going to send out its own adjuster to assess the damage caused to your home, it’s important to realize that its interests don’t align with yours. That’s why it might be beneficial to get a second opinion from a public adjuster who will give you an unbiased assessment of your damage.
- Track your communications: Your insurance company may act in bad faith when handling your claim. By retaining your communications with the insurance company, you might be able to better show that unnecessary delays and an unwarranted denial This can strengthen any legal action that you decide to take against your insurance company.
What if your claim is denied?
Although it can feel like a punch to the gut, a denied claim isn’t the end of the road. There is an appeal process that you can try to utilize to your advantage, and additional legal avenues may be available to you. That’s why it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your options and aggressively pursue those that are right for you.