Deadline to fix 2020 derecho repairs for most insurance payments is next week

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – The two-year anniversary of the 2020 August Derecho is Wednesday, which marks a deadline for homeowners with insurance claims still pending related to damage from the storm.

Homeowners, who miss the deadline could receive a smaller payout than they are entitled to based on their policy. Most insurance companies, according to an insurance lawyer, require people to either complete or at least sign a contract to repair damage within two years to receive the depreciation value being withheld on a claim.

Gregory Usher, who is a lawyer in Cedar Rapids and works on insurance cases, said some companies are extending their repair deadlines while others aren’t. He said these issues are extremely difficult for people to navigate alone and people need money to afford arguing with an insurance company for a larger settlement.

“Can you just put up four, five grand and wait another 6 months to get this resolved,” Usher said. “Or if you don’t have that money or the knowledge that you can do this process, you just lose.”

Usher said he also expects to file around 35 lawsuits for those with a policy, which has a statute of limitations of two years. In 2021, he filed 67 lawsuits related to insurance claims from the derecho.

“I know in about two weeks I’m going to start hearing a lot of the stories that make me really sad about people who lost their battle or simply gave up hope of getting all of the replacement cost benefits paid out to them because they could ‘t get the work done on time and we’re unsuccessful in seeking an extension from the insurance company,” Usher wrote in an email to TV9.

Mark Sutton, who lives in a Cedar Rapids home with the foundation cracked and siding destroyed after a tree came through his house, said he’s not making any additional repairs until he gets more money from the insurance company. He said he can’t afford a lawyer and is negotiating with the insurance company alone while living in a damaged home.

“The fact that we’ve had to live like this for two years and it’s been a constant fight the entire time,” Sutton said. “The insurance company has all the cards. They have all the money.”

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