1) Do not touch anything before documenting damages- Your first reaction is to start cleaning up, but everything needs to be documented before anything is moved. Take pictures and write a list of damaged items.
2) Understand your policy- CALL YOUR AGENT!!! Have a detailed conversation with your localagent FIRSTbefore calling the insurance company directly. In some cases, insurance companies will count your inquiry as a claim, even if a claim is not made. Have your policy handy to go over anything you do not understand.
Also some homeowner’s policies do not cover tornado flood damages, but most will cover you for wind, hail, and power failure.
3) Ask for Temporary Help- Some insurance companies will help you immediately by providing you will an advance payment to help with severe damages. Always keep the receipts for how the money was spent.
Keep in mind you will have additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your home and have to continue to pay for your mortgage.
4) Try to fix any damages that can lead to more damage- Board up broken windows or put tarp on a leaky roof to stop further damages to your home. Also make notes of what you did and take photos. Do not give the insurance company any reason to deny a claim.
5) Stay on top of the insurance company-Keep a detailed record of all communication between you and the insurance company. Follow up with updates weekly. If needed, seek out an attorney who expertise is property damage if the insurance company makes you feel uncomfortable.