1-9-16 Tornado In Cape Coral Florida
Cape Coral was struck by a tornado packing wind estimated at 132 MPH on Saturday, January 9, 2016. Fortunately, lives were spared on 1-9-16 but the damage to property has been devastating. Homes and automobiles were ripped and tossed by the wind. Many residents are now without power and unable to return to their homes. Our hearts go out to them as they worry about their family heirlooms, photographs, books, and important documents. There are some things money can't buy. At times like this, you the insured will have questions. We are public adjusters here to assist with your tornado loss. If you are out of state, we can meet with your insurance adjuster. One question you may have might concern your deductible. Will a hurricane deductible apply for this wind loss?
The first and most important consideration is the safety of each and every family member, including the family pets. Finding shelter and safety for each can be daunting. Consider contacting the American Red Cross (239-278-3401). Resources for pets include your veterinarian's office, local kennels, and "pet-friendly" hotels until you can return home or make other arrangements.
While the emotional toll can be overwhelming, there are a few things you can do to help with recovery from this disaster. Notify your insurance agent or insurance company of your damage. Start and keep a log of all phone calls and conversations including the name and number of the person with whom you spoke. Save your travel, meal, hotel, and other expense receipts. Keep these together and write down what the receipt was for in your log. Take photos of the damage to your home, your personal property, any trees that are lying on your house, your shed, your garage, your driveway, your fence, your lanai or pool, or any other structures on your property.
Here are a few tips which may help you recover from this disaster. Not all policies provide all coverage so you will need to verify what coverage you have under your own insurance policy.
Many homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for Additional Living Expense (ALE) such as lodging, meals, travel expenses, and boarding of your pet when your home is uninhabitable due to a covered loss (such as wind). Your agent should be able to confirm your ALE coverage. This is important information to keep in your log and expense list.
Many policies specifically state that you should "mitigate" your loss and/or damages. This is one of the homeowner's "duties" after a loss. Check with your agent about emergency and/or temporary repairs to prevent further damage to your property. This could include tarping the roof or other measures. FEMA (800-621-3362) may be a helpful resource for emergency repairs. Be aware of downed power lines and do not take any unnecessary risks or attempt to get on your roof if you are not qualified to do so.
You may also have coverage for personal property damaged due to the tornado. If everything in one room is lost or damaged it may be helpful to picture the room and begin listing every item including TV, DVD player, furniture, wall décor, furniture, etc as you can recall them. If you can remember the age of each item, where you purchased the item, and the cost you can write that down as well. When you can safely return to your home, you can remove any and everything that is not damaged from the list. You will need this information in order to be reimbursed for you damaged personal property if you have coverage. Do not discard your property until after your insurance company adjuster has inspected the damage or until you are given permission to do so.
Write down the date, time, name of the person, and content of every conversation you have with your insurance company representative and any contractors. Please be aware that some contractors now ask the homeowner to sign an "Assignment of Benefits" which entitles the contractor to receive your insurance company payment directly.
Ultimately, the lives of our families and friends are most precious. Nearly every "thing" can be replaced. So, despite the devastating loss we are thankful that that which is most precious to all of us was not taken on January 9, 2016. We wish you the best on the road to recovery. Hopefully, you will have no problems getting your home repaired, your vehicle on the road, and resume life with your loved ones. However, if you are having difficulty and need assistance with your claim, we are here for you.