Over 300 homes and buildings were destroyed in Pensacola and throughout Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties

What to do after a tornado damages your property

Tornados and other severe wind storms usually do not provide advance warnings to property owners to give them time to protect their property. The ability of tornados and wind storms to cause severe damage to property was painfully evident earlier this week as tornados blew through Pensacola and throughout Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. Early estimates state that over 300 homes and buildings were destroyed – including severe damage to the Northpoint, Dunmire Woods, and Eua Claire areas. The damage caused by this week’s storms is in addition to the damage caused by the tornados which struck Century, Florida just last week.

Although you may not be able to predict when a tornado will strike, you can take action to protect your family and property both before and after the storm. Prior to the storm, it is crucial that you verify that you have the appropriate level of property insurance coverage to protect your home and personal belongings. It is also crucial that you make a family safety plan and ensure that all family members are familiar with the plan. This plan should include, but not be limited to, where to seek shelter when the storm hits and, if you are not at home when the storm hits, a designated safe place to meet after the storm passes.

After the storm, your first priority should be to ensure the safety of your family and any others that may need assistance. With regard to your property, you must document the damage to the best of your ability and make a listing of any personal property you believe to be lost or damaged. Photographic and/or video evidence is by far the best way to document the condition of your property, but if you are not able to photograph or video your damage, a detailed written listing of the damaged or missing items will suffice.

You must also contact your property insurance company as soon as possible to place them on notice of the damage. Your insurance company will send an adjuster to inspect the damage to your property and may offer an initial estimated payment of the amount of your damages. It is important to not sign any sort of release or similar document without first speaking to an attorney. In almost every occasion, a substantial amount of additional damage will be left out of the insurance company’s estimate and you do not want to take any action that will limit your ability to seek additional compensation for the damage caused by the storm.

Since your home is most likely your biggest investment, you should not attempt to handle your damage claim without seeking the help of a qualified attorney or other insurance professional. Our firm handles tornado insurance claims and all other insurance claims on a contingency fee basis – meaning that we are only paid if we can obtain additional money for you on your claim. Should you have any questions whatsoever regarding your property insurance claim, please call us for a free consultation and we will do our best to assist you.