Current Disasters, Oklahoma Tornadoes: 2013,

June 5, 2013 at 10:01 am - 93 Comments

Lessons from Moore: Roof Damage

Tornadoes leave some homes in complete shambles and others in more minor disarray. Numerous homes in and around Moore remain livable, although they were significantly damaged. Those homeowners are filing insurance claims, too.

Tarps cover many roofs in Moore as people have taken reasonable, necessary steps to protect their property from further damage. This is, of course, a temporary repair. Permanent repairs should not be made until your insurance company sends a claims adjuster to assess the damage.

There are many factors that determine how the damage to a roof is covered—how the coverage works is spelled out in your policy. Many policies allow for necessary repairs or for a severely damaged roof to be replaced with a new one; others may take the age of the roof into account at the time the damage occurred. Read more…

Current Disasters, Oklahoma Tornadoes: 2013,

June 1, 2013 at 11:15 am - 46 Comments

Oklahoma City Flooding

A second wave of deadly tornadoes barreled through the Oklahoma City area Friday night, causing widespread flooding. As more rain and severe weather are forecast in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valley over the weekend, here is some information about flood insurance.

Does My Homeowners Insurance Cover Flooding?

Standard homeowners and renters insurance does not cover flood damage. Flood coverage, however, is available in the form of a separate policy both from the National Flood Insurance Program – NFIP (888-379-9531) and from a few private insurers.

The NFIP provides coverage for up to $250,000 for the structure of the home and $100,000 for personal possessions. The NFIP policy provides replacement cost coverage for the structure of your home, but only actual cash value coverage for your possessions. Replacement cost coverage pays to rebuild your home as it was before the damage. Actual cash value is replacement cost coverage minus depreciation so that the older your possessions are, the less you will get if they are damaged. There may also be limits on coverage for furniture and other belongings stored in your basement. Read more…

Current Disasters, Oklahoma Tornadoes: 2013,

May 31, 2013 at 2:55 pm - 50 Comments

Lessons from Moore: Mortgage Payments

Your mortgage must be paid, even if your home is destroyed or damaged

A tornado may obliterate a home, but it does not eliminate the mortgage. Homeowners are still required to make payments to their lenders.

Both you and the lender are protected by your property insurance policy. Part of the deal for any home mortgage is providing co-insurance to protect the financial interest you, the borrower, have in the property along with the financial interest of your lender. So, when your insurer gives you a check for damage to your home, both your name and the lender’s name are on it.  That’s because your house is the collateral for the loan.

When you get such a check, first sign it, then send it to your mortgage company. The mortgage company deposits the money into their own account and releases funds to you as the rebuilding progresses. You also have the option of paying off your mortgage and using whatever you have left over to build or buy a new home. Mortgage companies only hold back money up to the amount of the outstanding loan balance; the rest is yours. Read more…

Current Disasters, Oklahoma Tornadoes: 2013, ,

May 31, 2013 at 10:26 am - 51 Comments

OK INSURANCE DEPT BULLETIN: Defining the Debris Removal Process for Insured Tornado Victims

OKLAHOMA CITY – Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak wants to make sure tornado victims with homeowners insurance understand their financial responsibility in regards to debris removal.

“Policyholders need to be aware of the process so they aren’t surprised down the road when they get a bill for debris removal,” said Doak.

The following guidelines apply to victims in the City of Moore. Other impacted cities in Central Oklahoma may have slightly different procedures.

If you ARE insured:

  • Option 1 – Demolish any remaining walls and slab and move it from your property to the curb. City crews will remove anything within 18 feet of the curb as long as it is one continuous pile of debris. This service is provided at no charge to impacted homeowners regardless of insurance policy.
  • Option 2 – Hire a private contractor to handle any demolition and/or move your debris from your property to the curb where it will be removed by city crews. You will either pay the contractor directly, or your insurer will write them a check.
  • Option 3 – Complete a Right of Entry application with the City of Moore. You will also need to provide a copy of your homeowners insurance claim settlement. This allows city workers to come on to your property, carry out any necessary demolition and move the debris to the curb. At a later date, the city will need to collect the debris removal fee that you received from your insurance company. The Right of Entry application will be available beginning June 4, 2013 at Moore City Hall located at 301 N. Broadway. Read more…

Current Disasters, Oklahoma Tornadoes: 2013,

May 30, 2013 at 12:47 pm - 61 Comments

Lessons from Moore: Auto Insurance

Tornado-damaged cars fall under comprehensive coverage

The parking lot outside the demolished 7-11 store in Moore is a temporary junkyard for battered vehicles. Crumpled cars line up awaiting their owners, who can then tell their insurance company where the car is so it can be towed to a real junkyard.

How can you tell who owns a car, or even what kind of car it is, when it is battered, mud-caked and nearly unrecognizable? You rely on the vehicle identification number.

So far, there have been more than 12,600 auto insurance claims resulting from Oklahoma’s recent tornadoes. Some of these claims are total losses; others are for anything from hail damage to windshields blown out by flying debris.

If a car is a total loss, it is considered beyond repair or it is determined that it would cost more to repair it than the car is worth. Among the basic coverage types for auto insurance is comprehensive coverage, which pays for damage from natural disasters. If you are making payments on a car, the lender requires comprehensive coverage. While this is optional coverage for those who have paid in full for their cars, many choose it to protect their investment in their vehicle. Read more…

Current Disasters, Oklahoma Tornadoes: 2013,

May 29, 2013 at 11:52 am - 63 Comments

Lessons from Moore: Renters Insurance

Renters rely on insurance first, federal aid second

A FEMA trailer is set up at the First Baptist Church in Moore. It is at the same physical address where the insurers have camped out; however, there are dozens of insurance companies situated on the west side of the church, while FEMA’s single mobile unit and personnel are on the opposite side. This separation may be accidental, yet there’s a message:

If you have renters insurance, you may get an immediate check from your insurer for additional living expenses if your home is uninhabitable. FEMA is not handing out checks; they are registering people for possible aid.

The FEMA team lead in Moore explained that insurance comes first – and pays first. If you have renters insurance and suffered damage from the tornado, the first call made should be to your insurer. If the renters insurance purchased is insufficient to cover your losses, then there are two federal aid possibilities. The first could be in the form of a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans are not just for business owners, by the way. If individuals do not qualify for the SBA loan, then they may be eligible for a FEMA grant. That’s why there is a registration process – to determine who is eligible for what type of aid. Read more…

Current Disasters, Oklahoma Tornadoes: 2013,

May 28, 2013 at 1:02 pm - 79 Comments

Lessons from Moore: Additional Living Expenses

Recovering from a disaster like the Moore, Oklahoma, tornado can be a bewildering process, but we’re here to help you understand the ins and outs of your insurance coverage and the claims filing process. In this series of posts we’ll take you through what you need to know in order to make the recovery from the disaster as smooth as possible.

Lesson #1: Temporary Housing—You’re Covered

With insurance, you have money for temporary housing if your home is destroyed

Your property insurance pays for housing, food and other essentials if you are forced from your home by damage from a natural disaster. This coverage is called additional living expense (ALE). Most renters insurance policies also provide this coverage.

ALE pays for the difference between costs for housing and food before the tornado and after the tornado. For example, if you had a mortgage and typically spend $500 a month on groceries, but now have to rent a hotel room and eat most meals in restaurants, then ALE covers this additional cost. It is important to know that this coverage only applies if a home is uninhabitable due to a loss covered under the policy. Read more…

Current Disasters, Oklahoma Tornadoes: 2013, ,

May 28, 2013 at 12:55 pm - 65 Comments

I.I.I. VIDEO: How to File a Claim

Current Disasters, Oklahoma Tornadoes: 2013,

May 28, 2013 at 11:05 am - 68 Comments

ON-SITE REPORT: Moore, Oklahoma, May 27

Moore tornado split neighborhoods last week; Insurance money ignites recovery

The manner in which residents of Moore, Oklahoma spent Memorial Day had everything to do with which block they lived on. On the right side of the entrance into the Heatherwoods subdivision, the owner of the corner home on Beechwood Way mowed his front lawn, absorbed in the task of pushing an old-fashioned reel lawn mower over grass that did not appear to need trimming. At another home, a father dressed in cargo shorts and combat boots karate-kicked a lopsided picket fence. His three-year-old son helped out by sweeping the sidewalk with a kid-sized broom and matching royal-blue dustpan. Life looked normal. Read more…

Current Disasters, Oklahoma Tornadoes: 2013,

May 28, 2013 at 10:50 am - 75 Comments

PHOTO JOURNAL: Tornado Damage and Rescue Efforts

Over several days spent in Moore, Oklahoma, Lynne McChristian documented what she saw, from homes and neighborhoods devastated by the disaster, to Red Cross relief workers, and bikers honoring more than just Memorial Day this year. Here are some of her photos.

Read more…

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