Naperville tornado victims win insurance battle after getting lowballed for costly roof replacement

Samantha Chatman Image
Friday, March 24, 2023
Naperville tornado victims win insurance battle over roof replacement
This Naperville couple couldn't get their insurance to pay for a new roof after it was damaged by a tornado - until they called the I-Team.

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- A Naperville couple who couldn't get their insurance company to pay for a new roof when it was destroyed by an EF-3 tornado in 2021 has some good news to share.

The couple said they needed thousands of dollars to replace their roof, but their insurance company told them the damage was closer to $800. After battling the company for nearly a year, the couple finally got results.

RELATED | Naperville tornado victims say insurance is lowballing costly repairs

Some of Naperville and Woodridge tornado victims their insurance companies are refusing to pay for repairs to the damage incurred by the storm.

Naperville and surrounding communities were caught off guard when the EF-3 tornado touched down on June 20th, 2021, ripping through neighborhoods and destroying homes.

Homeowner Jacob Nuesser showed ABC7 the wind damage on one side of his house, and shingles that had been lifted and cracked throughout the roof.

He and his wife Elisabeth said their contractor assessed the roof and determined the whole thing needed to be replaced: a $17,000 bill.

But they said their insurance company, State Farm, said they only had $800 worth of damage.

"What is the purpose of having insurance if the one time you need it, especially 15 years into being a customer, the thousands and thousands of dollars that we've paid in premiums, that they can't cover our roof," Elizabeth Nuesser said.

The couple was furious with State Farm, so they called the ABC7 I-Team for help.

In 2021, State Farm told the I-Team that when a claim is presented to State Farm, they thoroughly investigate the loss, adding that: "claim adjustments are determined by the facts of the loss and the results of the investigation."

After the I-Team reached out, State Farm called the couple and invited them to settle their claim in arbitration.

"It was stressful," Jacob said. "The time off of work to arrange meetings and fight this battle for almost a year. It was exhausting."

State Farm claimed at the arbitration that the roof damage was caused by other factors than the storm.

The couple said they brought in evidence to show the damage was caused by the tornado. They said they even presented our investigative report to help tell their story.

In the end, the couple said the judge sided with them. They received a check in the mail from State Farm for more than $15,000.

"I was very thankful that Sam was on our side," Jacob said.

"We went out to dinner and celebrated because we were like, 'Finally!'" Elisabeth added.

ABC7 reached out to State Farm for a comment on the resolution, but has not heard back.

The couple said they have since changed insurers and encourage all consumers to stand up for themselves if they're not getting what they paid for.