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Tornados are one of the worst hazards that property owners can face. They manifest with little notice and their fierce winds, large hailstones, and flying debris rapidly damage or destroy the persons and property that stand in their way. In a matter of seconds, protective coverings such as roofing & siding materials or even framing members can be peeled away exposing valuable personal property or merchandise to water damage from the torrential rainfall that often follows. This rapid destruction presents a significant challenge when it comes to mitigating secondary damage to persons and property. Power outages and flash flooding can make it difficult to access a property in a timely manner. Adequate supply of tarpaulins & lumber as well as the ground transportation & labor to deliver and install them in a timely manner is rarely accessible. For this reason, property owners are well-advised to participate in the Property Sentinel program to be sure that someone is standing ready to assist in a timely manner should a Tornado's path cross their property. Immediate access to personnel to protect the property with tarpaulins and plywood can mean the difference between manageable structural repairs or the irreparable loss of contents and substantial structural restoration. Another key benefit of the Property Sentinel program is the evaluation of the property's protective structure and the determination as to whether constructing a "safe room" or tornado shelter is a wise investment before a tornado strikes. Also, if you or your family are displaced by a tornado, the Property Sentinel will allow you to immediately relocate to a temporary residence in a furnished executive suite without a mess of telephone calls to hotels and your insurance company.
Finding a restoration contractor that works closely with legal counsel is clearly the best avenue for fighting the necessary fight with your insurance company when your energy, emotional capacity, and bank accounts are drained to the point that you don't have the resources to act on your own behalf. Keystone Restoration is a champion for the downtrodden.
We are committed to a 'Just' outcome for our Clients regardless of how difficult the road is to travel. As a Client with fire damage, your greatest challenge is to hold the course and commit to seeing the process through. For more detailed information on fire damage, visit the Residential or Commercial pages on our web site.
Additional Living Expenses (ALE)
Homeowner's Insurance usually lists ALE under Coverage D - Loss of Use. Loss of Use creates problems for property owners. For commercial property, Loss of Use often means loss of income. Sadly, many commercial insurance policies do not properly address this issue. In 2006 a horse ranch in Central Oregon that specializes in riding classes and hosting events experienced substantial damage from hail and wind. The horses were beaten so badly by the hailstones that they could not be ridden for more than two weeks. Repairs to the property also substantially impacted the ranch's business operations. The insurance company paid for repairing the structures on the property but the lost business income could not be recovered. The property owners' insurance agent had put them in a Farm policy instead of a Ranch policy. They had coverage for damaged crops but nothing for Loss of Use! Too bad they didn't grow crops! For a homeowner, ALE means any necessary increases in living expenses incurred by the homeowner so that the household can maintain its normal standard of living. This would cover temporary housing, Laundry & dry cleaning, meals, boarding costs for pets, increased transportation costs (drive further to get to work/school), furniture rental, relocation & storage expenses, telephone & utility installation costs at a temporary residence, etc. This area is often overlooked and causes most claimants substantial financial discomfort. Most insurance companies will pay advances to help with ALE but will not offer - you have to ask. Click HERE for an excellent ALE worksheet.
The adjusting arm of this insurance company clearly pursued an avenue of denial and delay of settlement even though the policy clearly provides adequate coverage. This makes the claims process painful for the policyholder and creates a effective deterrent for those who expect their insurance company to settle promptly and fairly. It also allows the insurance company to continue reaping the investment benefits of their Operating Income while the settlement process is being dragged out - instead of fulfilling their obligation as trustee of policyholder premiums.
Contents - Actual Cash Value (ACV)
Nearly all insurance policies pay only the depreciated value of contents. This poses a huge problem for property owners. Does it seem right to receive a check for $30,000 for your damaged/lost belongings when it will cost $90,000 to replace them? Of course not! Nearly all insurance companies offer a fairly low cost-option to cover the replacement of contents rather than Actual Cash Value.
Pick up the phone and fix your insurance policy RIGHT NOW and make sure you have a "RCV" policy! Also, start documenting the property that you own today. State Farm provides an excellent checklist. They also have an excellent Personal Property Form which you can use for any type of loss.