A tornado is a funnel-shaped windstorm that can cause catastrophic damage, injury and death in just a moment – often without warning. The U.S. tends to have more tornadoes than any other country in the world, averaging 1,000 per year according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
If you have insurance and your home, car or other personal property was damaged in a tornado, you expect your insurer to help cover your losses. However, insurance companies often deny valid claims or lowball policyholders to save money.
If you are having trouble recovering fair compensation from your insurance company, contact the Cincinnati tornado insurance lawyers at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy today. Our Cincinnati insurance attorneys have many decades of combined experience helping our clients obtain millions of dollars in compensation for their injuries and damages.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your claim. The consultation is confidential and there is no obligation, so there is no risk to you to talk to us.
Damage Caused By Tornadoes
When a tornado strikes, it can destroy or severely damage everything in its path. Tornadoes tend to be very narrow, so one house may be destroyed while the next-door neighbor’s house may be virtually untouched by the windstorm.
Types of damage a tornado can cause include:
- Roof torn or ripped off
- Broken windows
- Siding ripped off
- Brick façade torn off
- Holes in the roof or walls
- Broken garage door
- Broken sliding doors
- Trees blown down onto the house or car
- Landscaping ruined
- Car rolled or blown over
Our tornado insurance lawyers in Cincinnati handle cases involving all kinds of tornado and storm damage. We know how to maximize your claim so you obtain the compensation you need. Contact us today to have us review your claim.
What To Do After A Tornado Hits
After living through a tornado and suffering the disastrous effects, there are some important things to do in order to help you maximize your insurance claim, including:
- Review your insurance policy.
- Report the damage to your insurance company right away.
- Write down everything that was damaged.
- Take photos and videos of the damage.
- Make any temporary repairs necessary to prevent further damage.
- Only use licensed, bonded and insured contractors for any repairs.
- Be present when the insurance adjuster is walking around your property to answer any questions.
- Ask about discounts or disaster-relief assistance.
Our tornado insurance attorneys in Cincinnati will help you calculate the damages and establish your losses. Let your lawyer handle all communications with the insurance company in order to help ensure you obtain maximum compensation for your tornado insurance claim.
Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Tornado Damage?
Tornadoes can occur virtually anywhere, and the damage they cause to your home is usually covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. Insurance companies do not usually require you to purchase separate coverage for tornadoes like they do for floods, hurricanes or earthquakes. If your policy covers windstorms, that includes tornadoes.
The dwelling coverage portion of your homeowner’s insurance can help cover costs associated with rebuilding or repairing your home and attached structures due to damage caused by a covered risk, which usually includes tornadoes. Dwelling coverage can pay for wind damage to the house structure and everything that is attached to the home, including:
- The roof
- The attached garage
- The attached deck
Homeowner’s insurance claims can also help cover damage to things like blown down fences, satellite dishes and antennas, which may be detached from the house.
Personal property coverage can help pay for replacements or repairs of the belongings that were inside the home. This can include furniture, clothing, artwork, valuables and anything else that was damaged or destroyed by the storm.
That is why it is of utmost importance to take photos or videos of everything that is inside your home before a tornado hits. Store files of the photos and videos in a place that is outside the home, such as on a personal website or in your email, so they are not lost in the storm as well. This way you can compare these pictures to photos taken after the storm to show what your personal belongings looked like before they were damaged.
There are other types of insurance that may cover damages caused by a tornado, including:
This type of insurance can cover damage to the renter’s possessions that were inside the residence at the time of the tornado. However, damage caused to the residence itself must be covered by the landlord’s property insurance.
It is important for the renter to tell the landlord about all damage that was done to the structure of the home due to the tornado. Do not assume that he or she knows about all damage that occurred. If you do not tell your landlord about damage, he or she may not discover it until later and may claim it was caused by your actions and not the tornado.
Damage to your vehicle from windstorms such as tornadoes is covered under your comprehensive car insurance policy. This can include damage to the interior and exterior of your car, such as damage from flying debris or your car being overturned.
If the tornado was accompanied by heavy rain that caused flooding, the resulting water damage is not covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Any damage that was caused by water will have to be covered by your flood insurance policy.
Flood insurance can be purchased from your insurance company, and it is covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Insurance policies can be a bit complicated to understand. Our Cincinnati tornado insurance attorneys can review your insurance policies and determine what is covered and how much coverage you have.
If you are covered for damages caused by a windstorm or tornado, we can help you obtain maximum compensation. We will help you file your claim and take care of all of the communications with the insurance company.
What Is A Breach Of Contract for Tornado Coverage?
When you sign an insurance contract or any other type of contract, it is a legally binding document. That means neither party that signed the contract can get out of its obligation until or unless the contract is canceled in a legal manner.
If either party fails to uphold the obligations that are outlined in the contract, that is a breach of contract. In the case of windstorm insurance that covers tornadoes, if an insurance company fails to handle an insurance claim in a manner that meets the industry standard, the insurance company has breached the contract.
If a party claims breach of contract, these questions must be answered:
- Did a legally binding contract exist?
- What are the requirements defined in the contract?
- Were any changes legally made to the contract?
- How was the contract breached?
- Why was the contract breached?
- What damages did the breach of contract cause?
An insurance company may try to claim that the contract was canceled before the incident occurred, such as before a tornado happened. However, if the policy was legally in effect when the tornado occurred, the insurance company is legally bound to uphold its side of the contract.
The policyholder can cancel the insurance policy by contacting the insurance company and requesting a cancellation, and the insurance company can usually cancel the policy at any time and for any reason, but it must be fully communicated to the policyholder. If not, your Cincinnati tornado insurance attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy will fight for your right to the compensation you are owed as per your insurance contract.
How A Legal Team Can Help
The damage caused to your home by a tornado will be evaluated by an insurance adjuster, but an insurance adjuster usually attempts to keep the payout evaluations low because he or she works for the insurance company. Therefore, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney who will accurately and fully evaluate the damage done to your home.
If the insurance company tries to pay you an amount that is lower than your policy states, or if the insurance company is trying to get out of paying you altogether, that may be a breach of contract. Fighting a breach of contract is a complicated and delicate process, and you need a knowledgeable attorney to handle all of the legal details. Your legal team will handle all negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf.
Our law firm is well-versed in the federal and state laws surrounding insurance policies, and we know how to pursue our clients’ best interests against the insurance companies.
- Review your insurance policy
- Analyze the property damage done by the storm
- Determine the amount you are owed
- Communicate with the insurance company on your behalf
Insurance companies take claimants seriously if they have attorneys who are willing to sue for the maximum compensation owed to their clients. Most claims are settled out of court, but you want an attorney who will be taken seriously by the insurance company.
Our legal team can fight for your right to the compensation you deserve. Contact us today and schedule your free, no-obligation, confidential consultation with a licensed tornado insurance lawyer in Cincinnati to find out how we can help you.
Contact A Cincinnati Tornado Claims Attorney for Help
If you have suffered injury or damage from a tornado and you are having difficulty obtaining the correct payment for your insurance claim, a Covington insurance lawyer may be able to help. We can handle all of the communications and negotiations with the insurance company so you can focus on getting your life back on track.
The reputable legal team at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy has decades of combined experience fighting for the rights of those who have been injured or harmed. We aggressively deal with the insurance companies, and we settle for nothing less than our clients deserve.
We have helped our clients win millions of dollars in compensation for their injuries and losses. We charge no upfront fees, and we work on contingency – so we only get paid if you do. Contact our caring law team today to find out how we can help you obtain the compensation you need to begin rebuilding from the effects of the storm.