September 29, 2023


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August 10th derecho sheds light on gaps in insurance policies

SPRINGVILLE, Iowa (KCRG) – Clean up from the August 10th derecho is far from over in Cedar Rapids and surrounding areas. While that work is being done, many people are also working through insurance claims from unthinkable damage.

Insurance agents say this storm is opening up many people’s eyes to what they are actually paying for in a policy and are now having to pay for it.

“We love Christmas; it’s something we do as a family,” said Sarah Underwood of Springville.

Sarah and her husband, Nathaniel, are known as the Giswolds of Springville. Every inch of their property is covered with inflatables and Christmas light, but underneath those lights is all the damage that still lingers from the derecho four months ago. The siding is torn off, there is a gaping hole in the roof, and birds are starting to build nests in some of the damaged areas.

About 2-weeks ago, the couple started working on a contract to make repairs, but their insurance policy will not cover $10,000 in repairs. That would need to come out of pocket.

“It was a lot to taken in,” said Sarah. “I have an emergency savings account for all our deductibles, but this was just a complete shock.”

They say the issue is because their policy doesn’t include depreciation, and their home is older. When they bought the house in August of 2016, they chose a policy they could afford, a move many people do.

“When people buy their homes, they’re looking to keep the cost down,” says Cedar Rapids State Farm Agent Doug Valentine. “They might not accept the replacement cost-benefit of the policy in hopes of saving money. Often time’s people do it online, by themselves, and they don’t know what they’re doing. They make some bad choices.”

Valentine has worked in insurance for more than 30 years. He says this storm showed the gaps in coverage that many people carry. With the experience of the storm, he encourages people to look at a policy for specific coverage.

“We want to circle-back and make sure that all of our customers are aware of the holes in their policy,” Valentine says.

While the Underwood’s continue to work out where they will get the money for the repairs, they say a nativity scene in the middle of their front yard, built out of their storm-damaged fence, is giving them solace this holiday.

“What that nativity scene means to us is hope for a brighter future,” said Sarah.

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