Tornado Insurance Dispute Lawyer in Louisiana
Helping you repair and rebuild after tornadoes across the state and in the Gulf Coast
Tornadoes can develop quickly, seemingly out of nowhere, and cause massive devastation to anything in their paths. Classified as a wind event in most homeowners insurance policies, tornadoes and resulting damage should be covered. However, you may have deductibles or other details in the fine print that could cause your claim to be denied or cost much more than you thought.
In 2019, Louisiana ranked sixth in the nation for number of tornadoes, with 97 recorded and three fatalities. In fact, Louisiana is located in what’s called “Dixie Alley,” a tornado-prone area which encompasses eastern Texas and Arkansas across Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and parts of Missouri. If your home or business suffered damage in a tornado, your insurance company should be there to help you get back on your feet and back in your home.
If they deny or delay your claim, the Louisiana insurance dispute attorneys at Warhurst Law are here to advocate for you. We’ll launch an investigation into your claim, negotiate with the company, and, if necessary, litigate on your behalf. Our attorneys have secured millions of dollars for our clients, including an additional $2.37 million for a commercial policyholder who was originally offered $50,000. Let us help you, too.
What is a tornado and why are they so dangerous?
According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), about 1,200 tornadoes hit the United States every year. Every state in America has experienced a tornado at some point, but Louisiana’s Gulf Coast location puts it at a higher risk for these types of events.
A tornado is a violent rotating column of air, extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. Strong tornadoes can work their way up to wind speeds of 300 miles per hour, leaving miles of damage in their wake – destroying buildings, uprooting trees, throwing vehicles and anything not secured down hundreds of yards away. They can last for a few seconds to over an hour, with the average tornado lasting about 10 minutes.
Does my New Orleans insurance policy cover tornado damage?
If you live in a tornado-prone area, ensure your homeowners policy covers tornado and wind damage. Typically this sort of thing is covered in a standard policy, but it’s essential to check. Tornadoes are especially damaging because they usually come without warning, which gives you little or no time to prepare.
According to insurance broker esurance.com, homeowners insurance covers certain natural disasters (also called “named perils”) like hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, and lightning. One exception to this is natural flooding. In Louisiana you need a separate flood insurance policy.
When you purchase or review your policy, determine the current value of your home and ensure you update your policy if the value of your property increases. This way you won’t find your property and belongings undervalued when it comes to filing a wind damage claim. The attorneys at Warhurst Law can review your policy with you to confirm the details of your coverage.
What is the tornado F-scale?
Weather professionals and the National Weather Service (NWS) use the enhanced F-scale to measure tornado wind speeds and damage. In the past, meteorologists used a simpler version of the F-scale, but the enhanced F-scale provides a more precise way to assess damage. The F-scale (named for Dr. T. Theodore Fujita) classifies tornado damage on a F0 to F5 scale, across 28 different types of damage indicators. The F-scale goes as follows:
- F0: Light damage to chimneys and sign boards
- F1: Roof surfaces peeled off and mobile homes overturned
- F2: Roofs torn off buildings and mobile homes destroyed
- F3: Roofs and walls torn off buildings
- F4: Buildings leveled and some structures blown a considerable distance away
- F5: Homes leveled and swept away
Meteorologists and engineers added the enhancements in 2007 after realizing there is no “one size fits all” way to properly assess tornado damage. The older F-scale didn’t take into account the different types of buildings and their strengths and weaknesses. The enhanced F-scale provides more customized standards for assigning an F rating to different kinds of structures in order to make a more precise damage assessment. Visit the NOAA for a full PDF of the enhanced F-scale.