Couple let insurance lapse month before EF-3 tornado destroys their home

Diane Wilson Image
Saturday, July 22, 2023
Couple let insurance lapse month before tornado destroyed their home
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When it comes to ensuring your home or rental is covered in a disaster, having even minimal coverage is key.

Rebuilding from the tornado damage is expected to take months, even longer for some homeowners in Nash and Edgecombe Counties depending on the type of insurance coverage, if they have any at all.

For one couple, Mike Poythress and Deborah Moore their home was destroyed by the tornado and they say starting over doesn't seem possible.

Poythress says, "I'm 67 years old, she's 65, and we're both living on social security. Nobody ever expects to be hit by a tornado. You know, that's a once in a lifetime. All those trailers over there and I was the only one that got hit."

Poythress and Moore were inside their home when the tornado hit their home. Mike heard it coming and told Moore to get in the bathtub.

"When it hit and I watched her be pulled up as the bathtub took off and went 30 yards and I pulled her back down and I'm holding on to the dog and the whole thing only lasted 15 seconds," Poythress said.

It just took seconds for the tornado to level their home. While Poythress had insurance on the home, he said they had to let it lapse.

"It expired June 1st because we couldn't afford insurance," Poythress told ABC11 Troubleshooter Diane Wilson.

In hindsight, he does say he wishes he would have found a way to pay it.

"We'd be basically homeless if it wasn't for the generosity of family, we wouldn't have anything right now."

What to know about insurance coverage

When it comes to ensuring that your home or rental is covered in a disaster, having even minimal coverage is key.

If you're having trouble affording insurance, sometimes you can save money on premiums with a higher deductible. On any policy, know your coverage limits, which is the maximum amount your insurance will pay towards a covered loss.

When it comes to your personal property, know the difference between actual cash value and replacement cost.

  • Actual cash value, typically costs less, depreciation of the item is a factor.
  • Replacement cost coverage is typically more expensive but reimburses you for the cost of replacing damaged items with similar type and quality.

When it comes to all of your belongings, it's a good idea to always keep a running record of everything you own so if you need to file a claim after a major loss like a fire, tornado, or other natural disaster, you have proof of what you had.

Walk around and record a video of all of your valuable possessions.

While it's too late for him, Poythress has this advice, "Keep your insurance. You never think you're going to need it until you need it." Poythress and Moore are staying with Moore's sister and the family has started a GoFundMe to try and help the couple start over. Poythress adds, "We need a place to live. Her sister's generous to let us stay here, but we need a place to live."

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