Disaster on The Road Pt. 3: Picking up the Pieces

Picking up the pieces


In part 1 & 2 of this series, we heard about how Andrew’s house was damaged by a tornado while he was away on a trip, and how tough it can be to coordinate a response from thousands of miles away. We have heard the importance of setting up a disaster plan and knowing exactly which steps need to be taken to make sure your house and property are secure. Today, we discuss how to start building back.

Two months after our house was brushed by a baby tornado, we are still waiting to get the process of reconstruction rolling. Luckily, the pieces are finally starting to come together. After an initial push by the insurance company that was very encouraging and built up our confidence that this was going to be a short process, that illusion was shattered after the second month anniversary came and went with no final plan for repairing our (relatively minor by disaster standards) damage. We have yet to even clean up the old siding that was blown off the house that is currently killing the lawn.

To be fair, this isn’t entirely the insurance company’s fault. We requested a structural engineer come to the house to inspect everything prior to an initial quote being generated. Due to a massive gas explosion in a city south of us that was completely unrelated, we had to wait for three weeks for an engineer to come out and survey the damage, and then another week and a half to get a report. Only then, with the report in hand, was our field adjuster able to get to work on our quote. Another two weeks of waiting, and many phone calls to make sure they were on top of things, and I finally got movement.

My phone rang around 0900 on September 5th, with my bubbly insurance manager on the other end of the line informing me my check was in the mail! “What check?” I asked. “Oh, for the initial damages. Don’t worry, your contractor is going to come in WAY over this amount, but this will get you started. We then work with your contractor and field adjuster to get to an agreed upon amount!” Well, little did Ronnie know, this was the first time I even found out a quote had been generated. I guess that meant I was good to start fixing things!

Well, as with everything in this process so far, of course it’s not as easy or quick as cashing a check. Unless you are lucky enough to own your home/apartment/condo outright, you will be issued a check with your mortgage company listed as a payee. My mortgage company is Wells Fargo, and their process (as I’m told) is apparently one of the easiest in the industry. Unfortunately, that ease still requires me to mail the insurance check, fully endorsed, to them and then submit all my documentation to prove that the amount sent to me came from the insurance company with justification. Oh, and then you have to ask for that money to be issued back to you. So, every time your contractor needs money to order supplies, you have to go back to your mortgage company to get the funds. It’s super-efficient and not at all annoying. (Read my sarcasm.)

Finally, on Friday the 22nd, I signed an agreement with my contractor to begin the process of re-assembling our home. His best estimate, thanks to a backorder for windows, was a November 1 move-in – almost four months after our little, tiny, baby tornado decided to side-swipe our house.

All things considered, we still feel extremely fortunate that it wis only minor damage and things are starting to come together. However, this has motivated us to make some adjustments in our life and create a battle plan going forward. Tune in next month for a discussion about the things we are glad we had in place, and what we are going to do moving forward to help us in case this, or something like it, should happen again.


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