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Insurance Loss Adjusters Missing Hidden Damages From High Winds

Posted by Joe Brennan | Posted in Homeowners Insurance, Independent Appraiser, Insurance Claims Help | Posted on 02-25-2010

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Winter and spring storms can and will often include tornadic activity in many southern states. As part of a recent news interview an insurance company adjuster admits and confirms that many insurance loss damages from tornadoes are often missed and overlooked. Policyholders need to become educated of the various damages to look for and how to detect subtle damages that become very costly down the road. The types of damages that can show up months or years after the high winds and tornado activity is long gone.

Many Huntsville, AL neighborhoods were affected by an EF-2 tornado on Thursday Jan, 28th 2010. Most of the damage created by tornadoes and high winds are pretty hard to miss, but even insurance adjusters can miss storm damages, if they fail to look closely.

A thorough and detailed insurance loss inspection by an insurance claims consultant or independent insurance appraiser can go a long way. Why do policyholders simply take the insurance company adjuster’s word for it, without obtaining a second opinion? This should never happen. Policyholders need to protect themselves and their homes by educating themselves on these few and simple wind damage inspection tips.

Plumbing: High winds can often shake and rack a home or building. Policyholders can turn on all faucets in baths and kitchens, followed by opening all cabinets to check the plumbing lines for leakage. Continue by flushing all toilets and running showers and filling all bathtubs with water. Look at the ceilings below for water stains.

Roofing/Siding: Often times an insurance loss involving wind may not have appeared to damage the roof. It’s a good idea to look for flying debris that may have cracked, gouges or ripped in to the roof shingles. High winds can also rip and tear your shingles and siding allowing water entry.

Windows & Gutters: Wind and flying debris can damage window glass, rip screens, affect shutters, and detach or dent gutters.

Brick & Foundations: Check masonry for cracks and separation. An insurance loss by tornado or wind can also cause shifting and uplift to foundations. Check the perimeter of all crawlspaces. Severe masonry damages can be hidden.

Interior: High winds can cause stress cracks in corners of walls, and above doors and windows. Check for settling of floors by using a level. Over the following few days and weeks, keep an eye out for water stains or yellowing on the walls and ceilings, which could indicate hidden roof leaks.

In 2006, State Farm insurance company and their engineers at Haag have even been sued for failing to recognize such damages for insurance loss claims following high winds and tornadoes. CNN reported “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….

As we are all well aware, an insurance loss involving a tornado – results in very strong winds. Even tornadoes that do not actually “touch-down” can cause significant pressure on buildings. Such winds will push and pull on the structures causing fasteners and building parts to become compromised.

Above all, as stated, call an insurance loss consultant or independent insurance appraiser to inspect your property and be sure your home is safe. Feel free to call Insurance Claims Group, Inc. at 919-669-9111 to have all your insurance loss questions answered.

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(C) Joe Brennan is President and owner/operator of Insurance Claims Group, Inc., a national independent adjusting, appraisal, and umpiring firm. We will answer your claim questions FREE as part of our FREE Insurance Advice and Insurance Claim Consulting Services.

Insurance Claims Group, Inc.
Joe Brennan
Ph: 919-669-9111
Fx: 919-573-9595
info@insuranceclaimsgroup.com

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