We've been watching the news about the tornadoes in Oklahoma. Is this kind of damage covered by insurance or is it considered an act of God? If it is covered, how do insurance companies handle such a large number of claims?
Yes, windstorm damage is covered by homeowners insurance. We don't know where the myth that insurance does not cover acts of God came from, but we've never seen an insurance policy with that type of exclusion. Policies cover rebuilding the home, replacing personal property and the added cost of living somewhere else while the home is being rebuilt. The declarations page of the homeowners policy specifies the limits of coverage for each category of loss. Car insurance also covers windstorm damage if the policy includes comprehensive coverage.
Most insurance companies send a catastrophe team to help the local claims people when something like this happens. Some companies hire independent adjusting companies that specialize in handling storm claims. Generally, companies try to get advance payments to consumers as quickly as possible and work with local agencies to find housing and reputable contractors.
We recommend consumers periodically review their insurance policies with their agent or customer service representative. Since you have questions about covered losses, this might be a good time to go over your policies to be sure the coverage you have is right for your current situation.
If you have additional questions or concerns, our advocates are available at 1-888-877-4894.