Falling Trees, Flying Branches Kick Start Damage During Tornadoes

March 6, 2013

Temperatures are slowly starting to warm up and spring weather is right around the corner. While it may bring out the birds, tree buds and daffodils, it also can bring severe weather that can cause major damage to homes and cars.

Nationwide Insurance reviewed claims data related to tornadoes from 2008 to 2012 and found that, other than a direct hit from a tornado, tree debris or trees fallen by wind generally cause the majority of the tornado-related damage to autos and homes. The danger zone for homes and autos in a tornado is as much as two miles from the eye of the storm.

Information for tornado-related damage to autos:

  • The most common insurance claims for automobiles are fallen tree branches.
  • Larger losses are from broken windows and windshields, which allow rain water into the automobile, resulting in more damage.
  • The historical average auto claim for tornado damage is $4,000.

Information for tornado-related damage to homes:

  • A majority of the insurance claims for homes come from damage to roofs, siding and personal property.
  • Larger losses are mainly due to the home being in the direct path of the tornado.
  • Other large losses come from fallen trees and their branches, which can punch holes in the roof or walls, allowing large amounts of rain water into the home.
  • The historical average home claim for tornado damage is $24,000.

While only two percent of the tornadoes achieve the most violent and damaging classifications, 25 percent of tornadoes have proved to be powerful enough to cause 90 percent of the damage and 66 percent of deaths in the United States, according the Insurance Institute of Building and Home Safety.

According to the National Weather Services’ Storm Prediction Center, there were 1,119 tornadoes in 2012. Kansas had the most with 145, followed by Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky. There have been 103 tornadoes in 2013 as of Feb. 19.

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