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Oklahoma residents face daily roadblocks on the way back to normal lives after May's storms

BY CARMEN FORMAN cforman@opubco.com Modified: July 4, 2013 at 3:00 pm •  Published: July 4, 2013
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“This for me is trauma also because I'm in a world I don't understand, Shelley said.

Consumers don't always understand their insurance policies, Doak said.

For example, policies may only cover small portions of specific expensive items, Doak said. Large amounts of expensive jewelry, guns, or electronics should be covered with floaters — specific insurance provisions to protect an item of stated value.

Homeowners need to keep a photo or video home inventory accompanied by a detailed list of all the contents in their homes, Doak said.

Once they've done that, they need to store the inventory in a safe place.

People who do lose their homes in tornadoes have to keep paying their mortgages because the mortgage goes with the property, not with the home, Doak said.

But depending on a customer's policy, insurance should cover additional living expenses or loss of use which can include food and housing for a stipulated time.

“The theory of insurance is that you're made whole,” Doak said.

Rebuilding

Codner's insurance company does cover temporary housing for up to one year as she looks for a new home or tries to rebuild on her own property.

She hasn't found anything yet because most places won't accommodate her dogs.

She has spent days looking for a new home with a Realtor and hasn't been able to find a house of the same size on the same five acres for the amount of money her insurance gave her.

But rebuilding presents new problems.

“We're tearing houses down faster than we can rebuild them,” said Robert Crout, Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association president.

The demand for contractors and home building supplies has skyrocketed in central Oklahoma.

He urges homeowners to be patient when looking for a contractor, and spend the time necessary to find the most reliable and experienced company for the job.

Codner gave up on finding a contractor and continues looking for a new home instead.

“I am so mentally exhausted, I'm so overwhelmed that I cannot function,” Codner said.

“I feel like if I was to pick up the phone and accomplish one thing it would be the greatest feeling.”