After a Catastrophe Strikes | Shelter Insurance®

What to Expect After a Catastrophe Strikes


We are in storm season, and that means tornadoes are a threat for many states. When something like a tornado (or even a fire) makes your home unlivable, what do you do? After you make sure everyone is okay, you might need a minute to absorb what just happened. The next thing you should do depends on when the loss occurs and what your immediate needs are:

  • If your loss occurs in the middle of the night and your house is not livable, go ahead and secure lodging for yourself and your family, and keep any receipts for food and lodging so you may be reimbursed, if that is part of your homeowners coverage. This is true even if you just had a kitchen fire and you have to eat out because your kitchen can’t be used. Report your claim the next morning so Shelter can assist you.
  • If you need to make temporary repairs to prevent additional damage, go ahead and make those repairs. Again, keep your receipts.

As soon as you possibly can, go ahead and file your claim. Don’t wait because you think a lot of other people will be doing the same thing. It’s best to file your claim quickly so we can get an adjuster assigned and give you a claim number. If it’s after hours, you can file your claim by calling your agent or visiting During business hours, either of those two options will be fine, or you can call 1-800-SHELTER (1-800-743-5837). Do this even if you believe your damage is minimal.

Once your claim is filed, your adjuster will call you to answer any questions you have about your coverage and assess your needs. He or she might also need to get additional information from you, and possibly make an appointment to visit the site of the loss. If you have a contractor you prefer to use, it would be good if he or she is there at the same time as the adjuster. The adjuster will then evaluate and estimate damages to determine the amount of the covered loss so you can start the process of rebuilding.

If there’s an event like a tornado that causes a large amount of catastrophic damage, we may send one of our Storm Response Vehicles (SRVs) to the area to hand out supplies, catastrophe kits, answer your questions and help agents continue to work if their office is damaged.

Storm and fire damage can’t always be avoided, but if it happens, we hope this information will help.

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