How to Check Your House for Tornado Damage

The states of the south Midwest are known as Tornado Alley, the area with the highest average number of tornado occurrences in the country. Though tornadoes can occur at any time, the first half of the year – especially the warm summer months – tends to experience a higher frequency of tornadoes making landfall. Tornado damage can have a disastrous two-fold effect on your pocketbook: pricey physical damage to your home, and as a result, an increase in your homeowner insurance and/or tornado insurance rates. Major damage to the home is hard to miss, but not all storm damage is easy to spot. After a tornado has hit the area it is important to know how to assess your home for damage in hopes of catching small issues before they become big, expensive ones.

What to Look For

Structural damage is important to catch before the problem escalates; walk around the house to check the foundation and walls for cracks. Windows and doorways are the weakest areas of a houses" structure, so make sure to check them for cracks, as well. Severe weather might alter the foundation of your home, during a storm the ground underneath your home might shift, make sure that the floor is still level.

Experts suggest to check the roof of your home for damage from hail or flying debris. If you can look down on the roof from a second-story window, check for pock marks that would indicate contact and damage. Also check the air conditioning housing, gutters and around the edges of the roof for signs of damage.
In the days and weeks following the Tornado damage, be on the lookout for yellowing or water stains on the walls or ceiling. This could indicate issues with plumbing or previously undetected roof damage.

To make sure the plumbing of your home has escaped damage turn on all faucets and flush every toilet in the house, then open the cabinets where the plumbing is housed and check for leaks. Of course, to make sure your home is safe, call your homeowners insurance and have them come check your house for undetected tornado damage.Unfortunately, the Midwest (especially states like Nebraska, Iowa,Kansas and Oklahoma) is notoriously prone to tornado activity. For additional information, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers suggestions on how to further protect your home from tornado damage.

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