State Farm Insurance agent offers helpful tips for those impacted by recent tornadoes

Updated: Mar. 30, 2021 at 4:19 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Many folks across our viewing area are still cleaning up following last Thursday’s tornadoes.

Several people in the Highland Lakes community were also affected by these strong storms and are reaching out to insurance companies to help them get their lives back together.

Insurance companies in many parts of Alabama said they’re ready to assists customers with claims following a string of tornadoes that ripped through the state.

But companies like State Farm are asking for patience as they are prioritizing those hit hardest first.

Michael Carlisle and his family went to Memphis for a little get away last Thursday.

“Checked in, started unpacking, then everybody’s phone started going off about storms. 30 minutes later, we’re packing back up, back at the front desk telling the lady we’ve got to check out and then drive all the way back home,” Carlisle said.

They made it back home around 8 p.m., but it was too dark to see the destruction.

“We have roof damage, some damage to the chimney, mainly downed trees, but that’s it. So far, we haven’t found any additional damage. So, all things considered, we’re the lucky ones,” Carlisle explained.

“An insurance policy is going to cover the structure,” said State Farm Insurance Agent, Michael O’Neal.

He said tornado damage is covered under “Windstorm Peril” in insurance policies.

That means your house, fences, sheds, and other detached structures are protected.

“It’s not a good idea to wait to learn about your policy after a loss has occurred,” O’Neal said.

“I would review your policy, call your agent, go over your policy, make sure you understand what’s covered and not covered,” he explained.

O’Neal said if you know you have major damage, the sooner you file a claim, the better.

But double check that your windstorm deductible is the same as the rest of your homeowner’s policy and take plenty of pictures.

“If you have damage at your property and you’ve done a lot of things yourself as far as cleanup, make sure to document your time and your expenses in doing that because the insurance company will actually pay you to do some of that work,” O’Neal said.

Carlisle believes all the damage done to his home will be covered, but it will be at least a week before a claims adjuster can make it out to survey the damage.

Many companies, including State Farm, prioritize their customers based on the severity of the damage.

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