USAA Handling Bulk of Tornado Claims, Is Your House Covered?

Locations like Joplin, Missouri are deep in recovery mode after the deadly and devastating tornados seen earlier this month.

The USAA is handling all homeowner insurance claims, in towns where homes were reduced to literal sticks and dust. The casualty toll was immensely high, and far more people were left with homes that were completely leveled. Although people will rebuild, a USAA employee spoke to press about the services offered to homeowners in the interim:

“These vehicles are on standby for whatever weather-related catastrophe might happen in any part of the country,” says Clayton Allen with USAA. “We’ve got our own power here, we’ve got the ability if members need to recharge their phones, if they need to recharge laptops, something like that. They need to recover and they have the ability to do that here.”

However, the Detroit Free Press points out that insurance companies aren’t your friends- and while it’s good to avail yourself of offered services when disaster strikes, it also pays to periodically examine the details of your policy, just in case:

Thousands of families in Joplin, Tuscaloosa and other tornado-stricken communities have seen their homes flattened and the contents destroyed. And sadly, many of these homeowners will soon discover that their insurance won’t cover all of their rebuilding costs… The good news is that typical homeowners insurance covers damage from tornadoes. Other natural disasters, such as floods and earthquakes, aren’t covered under standard policies. But while 96% of homeowners have insurance, 64% of homes are undervalued for insurance purposes, according to a 2008 study by Marshall & Swift, a research firm.

This season, a small episode arc of the Hurricane Katrina-themed HBO hit Treme deals with insurance woes after large scale disasters.