Winter and early spring storms often bring violent tornadoes into the south. A recent article highlighted how even insurance company adjusters know that many damages from tornadoes are often overlooked.
In "Checking Your Home for "Hidden" Tornado Damage," experts and adjusters warned policyholders of various items to look for to detect subtle damage which could be quite significant:
Experts said you should turn on all of your faucets, then open your cabinets to check the plumbing and flush all of your toilets to check for leaks.
Insurance adjusters said not all tornado damage is easy to spot.
"Generally what you’ll see is pock marks on the roof," said Gary Smith of Farmer’s Insurance. "If you can look out a second story window for example and look out on the roof and see pock marks, it’ll be obvious on the roof."
Smith also recommends checking other places for dents caused by hail or flying debris. "Other metal things around the house, might be the air conditioning housing, compressor housing," he said. "You look for dents in that or the gutters around the edges of your roof."
Checking your home’s foundation and walls for cracks is also a good idea. Pay special attention to the areas around windows and doors, as they tend to be the weakest spots in construction.
You also want to make sure your floors are level, a change could indicate a lift in your foundation. Some other things to keep an eye out for over the next few days and weeks, are water stains or yellowing on your walls and ceilings, which could indicate some hidden roof damage.
Here is the video on this story:
Insurers and their engineers have been sued for not recognizing these types of damages and claims following tornadic losses. As reported by CNN in "State Farm Penalized in Suit Over Tornado Claims :"
State Farm acted "recklessly" and "with malice" in handling insurance claims from dozens of families whose homes were damaged when a wave of tornadoes, including the strongest in recorded history, swept through Oklahoma in 1999, a jury has decided.
The verdict…delivered millions to the lead plaintiffs…
The jury in the District Court of Grady County, Oklahoma, awarded Donald and Bridget Watkins almost $13 million in total damages for their part in the class action suit against the nation’s largest insurer….
Tornadoes have very strong winds which place significant pressures on buildings that push and pull on structures. Damage often occurs to the fasteners and component parts, although most are happy the building is still standing and everybody is safe. Following a tornado, my advice is to have a qualified engineer inspect your building for these subtle but significant expected results from such severe winds.