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Lasting Lessons from the 2019 Dallas Tornado: The Right Insurer, Right Coverage and Right Agency Matter

There are a lot of myths about tornados, among them that they only hit rural areas. That’s obviously false. Just as false, is the myth that all insurance policies and all insurance agencies are the same. 

The powerful tornado that ripped through Dallas in October was a stark reminder of the threat such storms pose to life and property.  The tornados that tore through the area caused over $2.2 billion in damage, making it the costliest tornado loss in Texas history. 

Unfortunately, for many homeowners, the storm’s aftermath provided another powerful lesson: that not all insurance policies and insurers are the same. Attempting to save a few dollars on premiums can leave homeowners with a high cost to pay, and a lengthy recovery process if their insurer or policy doesn’t respond adequately to a loss.  

As they tried to recover from the storm and get their lives back to normal, homeowners who found their insurance policies didn’t provide adequate coverage for things like loss of use, the replacement cost of their home or debris removal learned a hard lesson: the right insurance company and the right insurance agency truly matters. 

The right policy should provide: 

  • Guaranteed Replacement Cost – A replacement cost feature will extend coverage beyond policy limits, if necessary, to rebuild or restore your home after a loss. This can be particularly significant after a natural disaster when supply and demand can force costs of materials and construction services to skyrocket.
  • Unlimited Loss of Use – If a disaster forces you from your home, coverage will help you find comparable temporary housing and pay any difference in your living expenses until you can return to your home.
  • Debris Removal – The policy will cover the cost of removing debris and trees from your property. It can also potentially pay for replacing trees and other landscaping.
  • Cash Out Option – Such a provision will provide you cash, up to your policy limit, if you choose not to rebuild after a covered loss.
  • The right agency can help you find a policy that checks those boxes. They can also help with:
  • Professional Review of Special Personal Property – An independent insurance agent skilled in managing the risks of successful families can help sort out what’s covered under the homeowners policy and what should be covered under a valuable articles policy, making sure everything is properly insured at the right value.
  • Documenting Personal Property – It’s important to document personal belongings prior to a loss, as adjustors will require a list of property and proof of ownership as they adjust the claim. A skilled agency can offer referrals to pre-qualified service providers who can assist with that process, or advise you on how to properly document your property if you choose to do so yourself. Then they’ll make sure all your property is insured to replacement cost, up to your policy limit.

A trusted risk professional can help you get your home coverage right, and place your coverage with an insurer that provides a policy that meets your needs after a disaster, not simply one that saves a few premium dollars before the storm. 

The right insurer will provide a policy that meets your expectations after a loss and respond quickly with a high level of service. The right agency will have the skill to knowledgeably assess your risk before a loss and the market connections to place your coverage with the right insurer. After the loss they’ll respond quickly and be able to get prompt action from claims staff. 

Recovering from an event like October’s tornados is a difficult process. Don’t let insurance coverage surprises make it harder. The right insurer and the right agency can provide the protection you expect and prevent those surprises. 

The descriptions of coverages listed in this article are brief and subject to the provisions, limitations, and exclusions that can only be expressed in your policy and related endorsements. For additional information of how Swingle Collins & Associates can assist in meeting your coverage needs, please contact your dedicated risk manager. The information contained in this article is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It contains general information on insurance issues and may not reflect the most current developments in insurance coverage and is unlikely to apply in all factual scenarios. The information does not include all the terms, coverages, exclusions, limitations or conditions that may be contained in the actual insurance contract language. The policies themselves must be read for those details. Sample policy forms will be made available upon reasonable request. Thank you. 

Trusted & Dedicated


There are two traits you’ll find in every Swingle Collins Risk Advisor—unsurpassed knowledge of insurance products, and a steadfast commitment to recommending the solutions that are best aligned with your business and personal goals.

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