The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) has subject matter experts available to discuss the potential economic and insurance repercussions of the tornadoes that struck Illinois this week.
Standard homeowners policies cover damage caused by tornadoes, including wind damage to the structure of the building and its contents. Homeowners policies also provide for additional living expenses (ALE). ALE coverage pays the costs of living away from home if you cannot inhabit your house due to damage from an insured disaster.
If you own a business that has been damaged, property insurance will provide coverage for equipment and inventory. Business income (also known as business interruption) insurance replaces lost revenue in the event that your business has to shut down due to wind damage. This includes additional operating expenses—such as operating out of a temporary location—incurred as a result of the disaster.
Damage to cars from a tornado, including trees and limbs, is covered under the optional comprehensive portion of a standard auto insurance policy.
Property Claim Services reported that tornadoes accounted for 37.2 percent of insured catastrophe losses from 1994 to 2013. In 2013 insured losses from U.S. tornadoes/thunderstorms totaled $10.3 billion, down from $15 billion in 2012, according to Munich Re.
Preliminary National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data show that there were 831 tornadoes in 2014 through October 27, compared with 811 during the same period the previous year. Munich Re estimated that overall insured losses from the outbreak of 60 tornadoes that hit the Midwest and southern Great Plains (including an EF5 tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma) in May 2013 totaled $1.8 billion.
The costliest U.S. catastrophe involving tornadoes hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and other areas in April 2011. This event caused $7.5 billion in insured losses (in 2013 dollars). The second costliest tornado struck Joplin, Missouri, and other locations in May 2011, resulting in $7.1 billion in insured losses (in 2013 dollars). May is generally the worst month for tornadoes, according to the National Climate Data Center.
While it is too early to tell what the losses from yesterday’s severe weather will be, hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged with widespread power outages.