By Keith Minor. As residents of Tennessee’s capital city and its surrounding areas, including those in Putnam County, start the process of rebuilding, many tornado victims are navigating the insurance claim process. Below are some things for policyholders to consider.
Typically, tornado damage falls under the category of wind damage found in many homeowners and commercial property insurance policies. Coverage usually includes actual physical damage to the structure, loss and damage to contents and items inside, and related costs such as temporary lodging and meals.
Important steps in filing claims:
- Obtain a copy of your individual insurance policy.
- Give written notice to your insurance company of the loss.
- Thoroughly document and photograph the damage to the building and its contents.
- Make an inventory of all lost or damaged contents.
- Keep all receipts of ancillary tornado related costs that are incurred.
- Keep track of important policy deadlines.
- Consider hiring a public adjuster instead of using the insurance company’s own adjuster.
Additionally, take steps to mitigate further damage, especially subsequent water damage. If this is not done, it may be difficult to prove that the claimed damage resulted from the tornado. Mitigating subsequent damage may include boarding up broken windows or placing tarps over damaged roofs to prevent further rain damage.
In the event your insurance company denies or underpays a qualified claim, an attorney experienced in insurance recovery may be able to assist in dealing with your insurer.
Note: The foregoing post contains general observations applicable to many insurance policies; this is not legal advice tailored to any particular legal issue. This should not be construed as legal advice, nor does the reading of this column create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and the Firm, or any attorney(s) at the Firm. If you need legal advice in analyzing your insurance coverage, presenting a claim, or disputing the denial of coverage, contact a licensed attorney as soon as possible. Keith Minor is licensed to practice in Tennessee. Sam Russell is not licensed to practice in Tennessee.