By: Matt Aldrich
Though tornadoes come and go swiftly and with little warning, their damage can be lasting. In the wake of such sudden destruction to your property, it can be hard to gauge your next steps. At Jansen/Adjusters International, we have handled property damage, business interruption, and extra expense claims for over 40 years. We're here to help walk you through what to do in the aftermath of a tornado.
Priorities to consider:
1. Secure Long-Term Housing
When your home is damaged or destroyed, your initial reaction might be to turn to friends and family for a temporary place to stay, but one of your first calls should be to local realtors to locate houses for rent. The unfortunate reality is that your home may not be rebuilt for many months, and living with relatives or in cramped quarters for a year or more can quickly grow uncomfortable.
In addition to realtors, there are additional sources for emergency rentals, including Home Source Corporation. For assistance in obtaining your additional living expense (ALE) coverage from your insurance carrier to help cover the associated costs, the licensed public adjusters at Jansen/Adjusters International are ready to help.
2. Visit the Pharmacy
Clothing and food may seem more immediate, but don't neglect your medical needs after a disaster. Get prescriptions replaced for yourself and your family. Remember any replacements needed for eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other specialty items. Prescription lens wear should be ordered as quickly as possible as it may require an approval process from your insurance provider that could take a few days.
3. Take Care of Other Daily Needs
If you have children, check in with their school. If their building wasn't affected by the tornado, then school is still in session. That means you might need to replace materials such as books, uniforms, backpacks, and laptops. The same applies to any supplies you need for work.
Determine how much of your clothing was lost and work on rebuilding your essential wardrobe(s). Keep a detailed list of your purchases and save the receipts for inclusion in your insurance claim.
4. Request an Advance Payment from Your Insurance Carrier
Your insurance adjuster may not provide you with ALE without first inspecting your property. Analyze your cash flow and be clear about your needs. The amount of any advance payment varies based on your insurance coverage.
5. Think in Multiple Paychecks
According to Jansen/Adjusters International Principal and General Executive Adjuster Luis Esteves, when most property owners are asked how much money they think they need to survive in the first 30 days, they nearly always answer with a single month's salary. You may need that amount many times to cover your additional living expenses. Following a disaster, people tend to underestimate the cost of their needs. Still, it's important to keep in mind the cost of everyday living, upfront deposits, and medical supplies that need to be replaced.
6. For Those Without Insurance
The Red Cross and local churches can offer help if you don't have homeowners insurance. If you're seeking financial assistance as a business owner, the Small Business Association (SBA) may be able to help with loans.
Why Hire a Public Adjuster?
1. Help with Contents
Though it's never the wrong time to hire a public adjuster, it's always good to have one from the beginning of the claims process to ensure you get the total value of what you're owed, particularly when it comes to the contents of your home. The inventory process can be stressful for homeowners, but having an expert by your side can help alleviate the burden of the insurance claims process.
Jansen/Adjusters International's public adjusters are by your side during the insurance claim process and do not charge any fee for advisement on your additional living expenses coverage.
3. Know What Questions to Ask Adjusters
It can be challenging to know what questions to ask if you've never worked with an insurance adjuster. Take a look at the five questions mentioned here to make the process easier and help you better understand your situation.
Small, rural communities often struggle the most with tornado damage. In the immediate shock of the aftermath, it's hard to focus on what your next moves should be. But by becoming informed about the process, you can get your life back on track faster.
And remember – you can always rely on your Jansen/Adjusters International team to guide you in making important decisions that will impact your claim. Our adjusters are bound by an agreement and the license issued by the State of Texas to protect your insurable interests following a loss. We are committed to helping you through this difficult time and getting a proper settlement.