Do's and don'ts when filing tornado insurance claims

house damaged by tornado
Photo credit Brandon Bell/Getty Images

In the wake of Monday's devastating tornadoes, insurance companies are very busy assessing the damage.

If your home was damaged or destroyed by a tornado, there are some dos and don'ts when filing a claim.


Ben Gonzalez with the Texas Department of Insurance says get in touch with your insurance company right away, and pack a little patience.

"There's going to be a lot of competition for attention from agents and adjusters," Gonzalez said. "So we tell our consumers to get in line as soon as they can."

While you're waiting, start documenting all the damage.

"You can start making a list of everything that was damaged or destroyed," Gonzalez said. "Start taking pictures or video."

And if you need to start making repairs yourself, go ahead and do so.

"If there's broken windows or holes in the walls or on the roof, cover those up so you don't get any more rain or you're not exposed to anything like theft," Gonzalez said.

If you do spend money on labor or materials, make sure you save those receipts.

"If you spend any money on tarps or plywood or fasteners, go ahead and save those receipts," Gonzalez said. "Because those could become part of your claim as well."

One thing you will not want to do is to discard anything, no matter how damaged it may be.

"Don't throw anything away until your company tells you to do that," Gonzalez said. "Because they may want to see those damaged items. So just pile them up on the outside."

And when it comes time to rebuild, make sure you do your due diligence when selecting a contractor.

"Try to work with a local one if you can, and make sure you check those references." Gonzalez said.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Brandon Bell/Getty Images