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New York, April 15, 2020—U.S. insurers are assisting disaster victims after dozens of deadly tornadoes tore across multiple southern states, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I).
Property damage caused by tornadoes is covered under standard homeowners, renters, and business insurance policies, and under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy. Nearly 80 percent of U.S. drivers opt to purchase comprehensive coverage.
While COVID-19 is causing changes in some business practices, the nation’s insurers are open and helping customers who sustained tornado-related damage. Most of the fatalities from the severe weather occurred in Mississippi, South Carolina, and Georgia on Sunday, April 12, and Monday, April 13.
The Triple-I has these recommendations when property damage occurs:
Checklist for Renters, Home and Auto Owners
- Contact your insurance professional and start the claims filing process.
- Take photos of any damage. A photographic record is useful when making an insurance claim.
- Make temporary repairs to prevent further loss from rain, wind or looting; these costs are reimbursable under most policies, so save the receipts.
- Compile a detailed list of all damaged or destroyed personal property. Do not throw out damaged property until you meet with an insurance adjuster. If you have a home inventory, it will make the claims-filing process easier.
- Hold off on signing repair contracts. Do your due diligence, deal with reputable contractors, and get references. Be sure of payment terms and consult your insurance adjuster before signing any contracts.
- Check to see if you’re eligible for additional living expenses (ALE). Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies pay for the extra charges (e.g., temporary housing, restaurant meals) you incur over and above your customary living expenses if your home is uninhabitable because of an insured loss. Save all related receipts and, if you have vacated your home, make sure your insurer knows how to contact you.
Checklist for Small Business Owners
- Follow the same advice as above when it comes to filing a property damage claim.
- If your business is forced to close temporarily or relocate because of direct physical damage to its premises, file either a business income (also known as business interruption) or extra expense claim, if you carry these coverages.
- To receive a business income settlement, document your net income and operating expenses, including payroll, both before and after the business was disrupted.
- Keep detailed records of all business expenses and transactions as your business recovers.
Customers should contact their insurer to access safely the assistance they need. Many services are available via mobile app and online.
Tornado Tips: Reporting Damage and Loss
Tornado Coverage for Small Businesses
The I.I.I. has a full library of educational videos on its YouTube Channel. Information about I.I.I. mobile apps can be found here.
THE I.I.I. IS A NONPROFIT, COMMUNICATIONS ORGANIZATION SUPPORTED BY THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY.
Insurance Information Institute, 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038; (212) 346-5500; www.iii.org