Tornado Damage Insurance Help

As the painful process of recovery begins for those whose homes have been damaged or destroyed in recent tornadoes, the focus will be on photographing and removing debris, inventorying losses, negotiating insurance payments and grieving.  In the months ahead, impacted residents will have to plow through paperwork and make important financial decisions.  The word most commonly used to describe people’s mind set after a natural disaster is “overwhelmed.”  While insurance payments can’t bring back cherished mementos, they are critically important on the Road to Recovery.

UP offers tips, information, sample letters and tools to help each person recover the full amount they’re entitled to and avoid and solve problems during the insurance claim adjustment process.  Our resources draw on the personal and professional expertise of our volunteers and staff, many of whom lost homes in past disasters.  UP does not sell insurance, give legal advice or represent individuals in claim matters.  Rest assured, our information and resources are designed to help you, the consumer…no catch, no hidden agenda.

First steps to getting oriented and organized:

If your home or rental has been damaged or destroyed, request a Roadmap to Recovery Toolkit by emailing your current mailing address to  The toolkit contains a handbook, organizer diary and home inventory flash drive tool.

Here are some items to get you started putting one foot in front of the other on the road to recovery:

Repairs and Rebuilding (Your Home)

Contents/Personal Property  (Your Stuff)

Resolving problems:

Support Resources:

Disaster Survivor Support Network: Confidential emotional support, insurance and rebuilding tips from previous catastrophic loss victims/survivors through the United Policyholders Disaster Survivor Support Network (“DSSN”) For a list of and contact info for available DSSN recovery mentors, please email your request to and put “DSSN” in the subject line.
Expert Answers to Your Questions:  The “Ask an Expert” tool is an easy and safe way to ask direct questions to attorneys, claims professionals and previous disaster survivors who serve as UP volunteers and get the answers you need. The expert doesn’t see your contact info, but you can contact them if you want to follow up on their answer. To use the forum, please visit our “Ask an Expert” page here. 

Recovery Tools:

  • The Disaster Recovery Handbook/Household Inventory Guide:  Since 2006 “The Disaster Recovery Handbook and Household Inventory Guide”  has been a trusted book that’s led thousands of people through the process of overcoming obstacles to repairing and rebuilding after a major loss.  The book is written in plain language by disaster survivors fordisaster survivors with tips and expert advice from legal, insurance and personal finance professionals.
  • The Roadmap to Recovery Organizer Kitincludes the essential tools for staying organized and recovering financially from serious property damage or loss.  Each kit contains a diary/notebook, essential tips and guidance, business card holders, a pouch for receipts and a messenger bag.
  • Home Inventory Flashdrives:  Most disaster survivors must prepare an itemized and detailed inventory list of every single item they lost in order to recover insurance monies and/or claim tax losses.  Creating this inventory is one of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks survivors must complete on the road to recovery.  To ease this burden, UP created a home inventory flash drive that’s pre-loaded with helpful content and is easy to use.
Special note to Oklahomans:   If you are surprised to hear your adjuster tell you that you only have “ACV” (Actual Cash Value) insurance on your roof, contact the Oklahoma Department of Insurance and United Policyholders.  The following wording may now be found in some, but not all OK home policies.   

(g) Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, we will pay no more than the actual cash value (including deduction for depreciation) for damaged portion of the roof, roofing material, flue, vent pipe, flashing or similar roof component of any covered structure”

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