Insurance Concerns Loom After Tornados

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Insurance agents are blanketing the state trying to process hundreds of claims following this weekend's storms.

It's been a busy past few days for many insurance companies trying to get a handle on how much damage these tornados caused. Insurance agents say this storm has caused some of the most widespread damage they've ever seen.

"When there's a catastrophe, this is why we're in business," said Amy Preddy with State Farm Insurance.  "(We're here) to help people in times of loss. When we heard these storms rolled through the mid-Atlantic on Saturday, we went into action."

Preddy says so far more than 400 insurance claims have been filed in Virginia alone, with more on the way.

"Our first priority is making sure everyone is safe," she said.  "(We're) making sure those people that don't have a house anymore, they have shelter, they have food, they have clothes."

A homeowner's insurance policy can protect your home from a disaster like a tornado, but there's more you can do before Mother Nature strikes. State farm says the best thing to do before a tornado hits is to take inventory of what's in your home.

Tornados are relatively rare here in Virginia so many people don't know what to do when they've been hit. Often the easiest thing to do is call your insurance agent.

"Your agent is there to walk you through the process," Preddy said.  "They can hold your hand, they can answer any of your questions and really offer a sense of security in a very uncertain time."

After a disaster like this, many may also wonder if their rates will go up. Agents say one disaster typically won't raise your rates, but a pattern of disasters in the same area can.

Many people wonder if they need to wait for their insurance company to approve any repairs. State Farm says you can start your repairs, just keep the receipt.

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