For most Americans, the idea that half of the buildings in their community could be destroyed over the course of a single afternoon is virtually unthinkable. But as any resident of Pilger, Nebraska, can tell you, this risk is very real.
On June 16, two tornadoes ripped through rural Stanton County, causing several deaths and extensive damage to residential, commercial and farm & ranch properties. In an interview with the Associated Press, County Commissioner Jerry Weatherholt estimated that up to 75 percent of the structures in the small farming town of Pilger were destroyed or seriously damaged.
"More than half of the town is gone—absolutely gone," Weatherholt said. "It looks like almost every house in town has some damage. It's a complete mess."
Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman declared at a press conference that the town will rebuild, but it remains unclear how much it will cost to repair and replace all of the structures damaged by the storm. PropertyCasualty360 notes that it can be especially difficult for residents of small towns to deal with the effects of a natural disaster, as "everybody is in the same predicament. People can't help each other as is normally the case."
United Policyholders offers tips for homeowners who are dealing with the effects of a tornado or looking to be better prepared for the future. Insurance carriers and financial institutions can help prepare for tornadoes and other severe weather events by using a single valuation system that provides accurate, cost-effective replacement values for residential, commercial, and farm & ranch properties. Accurate valuations ensure that property owners are covered for the full cost of repairing or replacing their structures.