Tornado Victims Given Insurance Claims Advice

Thursday, May 23rd 2013, 6:37 pm

Victims from the Moore tornado have now begun claiming their losses with their insurance company, but sending that check straight to your mortgage company could be a big mistake.

Three days after the tornado struck their Moore home, the Leiba family has begun the process of dealing with their insurance claim. They just got done with their adjuster, when Paige Webb walked up.

"Hold your check, don't send it in, just like a construction loan," said Webb.

Webb, who's with the Austin Disaster Relief Network, is going door-to-door explaining to homeowners their rights when it comes to that insurance check.

"If they have a mortgage and they have insurance, they have the right to request to use that money to replace that house," said Webb.

Webb says don't immediately send that check to your mortgage lender to pay off your loan. If you do, when it comes time to rebuild or buy a new home, you will have to apply for a new loan and pay closing costs again.

"You don't have to send it in right away. You can hold it for months and just wait until you make a decision and then use that money to rebuild that home," said Webb.

Your mortgage lender may mandate you pay off your loan. In that case, Webb says to get a mandatory payoff letter first, so you will still be a eligible for federal assistance; advice Kelli Leiba says she will need, because they plan to rebuild.

"I would have known they would keep my mortgage keep my house," said Leiba.

News 9's Dana Hertneky also spoke with the Leibas about their frustrations with not being allowed to remove things from their damaged homes, and the new damage that was caused by Thursday's flooding.