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Articles Posted in Homeowners Insurance

what-to-do-when-a-tornado-strikes

As spring approaches, it is important that homeowners know their options should a catastrophic storm damage their home and property. We are only roughly three months into the year, and tornadoes have already caused significant damage nearby. Nashville, Tennessee was just struck by an EF3 strength tornado outbreak between March 2 and March 3. During these tornadoes, parts of Kentucky were affected as well.

When you think of a major storm, a tornado may not be the first type of damage that comes to mind. After all, hurricanes and earthquakes typically have much longer lasting effects, but tornadoes cause just as many problems as any other type of storm. Tornadoes typically accompany strong winds, flooding and lightning—all of which bring their own type of damage along as well.

Tornadoes are measured using the Fujita scale with F5 being the most intense level of damage with winds ranging from high 200s to 300s, F4 with wind speeds of low to mid 200s, F3 with wind speeds ranging from mid 100s to low 200s, F2 tornadoes have strong wind speeds of low to mid 100s, F1 tornadoes have moderate wind speeds of 70s to low 100s and F0 tornadoes are usually below 75 miles per hour. No matter the level of intensity of tornadoes, all of them impact their victims significantly. Even an F0 tornado can cause significant damage to your home.

can-homeowners-insurance-company-deny-my-claim
When a homeowners insurance company wrongfully denies or unreasonably delays payment of a valid homeowners insurance claim, it is called acting in “bad faith.” Your homeowners insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company. That contract creates a special relationship between you and your homeowners insurance company that requires them to act in good faith in their dealings with you. When they play games with your valid homeowners insurance property damage claim, they are acting in bad faith.

If your homeowners insurance company has recently denied your homeowners insurance claim or cancelled your policy, below are some answers as to why and how our homeowners insurance lawyers can help.

  1. What is covered by a homeowner’s policy? What is and is not covered by a homeowner’s policy depends on the terms of the policy itself. Generally, the policy will cover certain “perils” such as fire or storm damage and will pay for the “losses” associated with those perils, such as the cost of making repairs. Most policies cover the actual cost of the repairs unless the home is a total loss (the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the home). Some policies provide for payment on an “actual cash value” basis unless and until the repairs are actually made, at which time the policy provides for “replacement cost.”

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Homeowners insurance companies sometimes raise unexpected reasons for the denial of a claim. In a case being handled by Mehr, Fairbanks & Peterson attorney Austin Mehr against Allstate, Allstate argued that since the insured’s son was the resident of the premise, not the insured herself, she had left the home vacant and, therefore, was not entitled to coverage for a fire loss. The court rejected this argument and granted Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiff’s Complaint for Declaration of Rights stating that:

“…the Court notes that the ‘where you reside clause’ as interpreted by Allstate is in direct conflict with another provision that allows Howard to vaca[te] and leave the premise for an unlimited time period.”

The Order explained:

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