The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Tornado: Resources & relief

May 15, 2012

One-year insurance deadline approaches for Joplin storm victims

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Insurance is alerting Joplin residents to the one-year deadline associated with incomplete insurance claims related to the May 22 tornado.

Many homeowners insurance policies contain 12-month deadlines for consumers to receive full compensation for their damaged property. In these cases, paperwork submitted after the deadline may result in a lower claim payment.

Insurance Director John M. Huff said some policies have six-month deadlines, but the department directed insurance companies last November to extend those deadlines to at least one year.

“In many cases, consumers are paid the full value for destroyed property after they pay to repair or replace it and turn in receipts to their insurance company,” said Huff. “After all they’ve been through, we want Joplin residents to receive full reimbursement for their expenses related to tornado recovery.”

Huff says consumers should check with their insurance agent or company — or check their policy — to find out what deadlines they face. The insurance term often used for full reimbursement is “replacement value.” After the deadline, consumers might only receive “actual cash value,” which subtracts depreciation from the value of destroyed property.

Insurance companies have paid nearly $1.5 billion in homeowners, auto and commercial property claims related to the Joplin tornado. Huff expects that number to approach $2 billion by the time all claims are settled. Policyholders have filed nearly 19,523 insurance claims.

Consumers with questions or complaints can call the Department of Insurance Consumer hotline at 1-800-726-7390 or contact the department online at insurance.mo.gov.

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Tornado: Resources & relief