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Disaster Guide

How to Prepare for and Recover from Tornado Damage

Tornado - Know Your Risk

If you live in a relatively flat region and trees or other possible wind-driven projectiles surround your house, you could be at risk for tornado damage. At weather.com, you can determine your state's average risk for tornados during each month of the year.

During the Season

Tornados advance quickly, so there's not much you can do to prepare your home against them, even before the regular tornado season (which differs by region but is typically from March to July). Installing impact-resistant windows or hurricane shutters can help. Replace rock or gravel landscaping in your yard with shredded bark, which won't cause as much damage. Secure lawn furniture that could be picked up by strong winds. Also, make sure that your home has a basement or interior room far away windows to wait out the storm in safety.

When a Storm Threatens

Tornados tend to move very quickly, so there's usually not much homeowners can do before the fact. If you do have time, close, lock, and shutter all windows and doors. Secure all outdoor furniture or objects that could act as windborne projectiles.

Duck and Cover

It may be inconvenient for you to follow every warning siren and stay in your basement or interior room for the remainder of the warning. These warnings, however, are for your safety and the safety of those around you. Follow warning sirens to stay safe. Remember to include your pets in your safety plans, and to lock your house and close all windows before entering your safe space.

When You Return

After a tornado hits, take extreme caution re-entering your home. Natural gas leaks or other problems could await you. It's a great idea to take a post-disaster inventory, including photos and a list of damages to possessions and your home's structure. Remember that you can undertake minor repairs to prevent further damage and secure your possessions. Temporary repairs are covered under typical insurance, so keep all receipts. And while many people will reach out to help, remember that everyone isn't so pure-of-heart. Scam artists often troll disaster sites to get big up-front payments; they'll move on without doing the work.

File a Claim

Don't delay filing a home insurance claim. The sooner you get started, the sooner it will be resolved, allowing you to get your life back to normal. The pre- and post-disaster home inventories can work as a tool to help relations run smoothly between you and your insurance adjuster.

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