Tornado (Part 2)

In 1983, we had a tornado blow our house off the foundation and into the back yard.  Yesterday I wrote part one and now am moving to part 2.  Here it is:

The insurance Company sent their adjuster over and he said the house was a total loss.  they would issue us a check for the value of the covered amount.  I found a guy from St George, KS that would take the carcass of the house as an even trade on hauling it away.  Last time I drove through  St. George it was still there and he was living in it.  Good deal for both of us.  The only good thing about having a tornado rather than a fire was I was able to rebuild using the existing foundation and plumbing up to the ground level.  I figured I saved about $10,000 when you also throw in the landscaping.  I would include fencing in that but some son of a bitch stole the fencing I had collected up.  In a way the tornado did us a favor by not blowing the house apart.  Most of our stuff was there but not where it was.  The fridge moved across the kitchen and slammed into the cabinets on the far side.  It scrambled the contents and made recovery a lot more cleaning than replacing.  I had an old dresser that I had bought for about $10.00 and it split like a hog on ice when one side of the rollers wouldn't roll and the other side did.  The insurance Comp[any paid me $100.00 to have it fixed and I did it with some pipe clamps and a bottle of Elmer's glue.  I spent less than $5.00 on the repair. 

Gone but not forgotten

My sister was a real estate agent in Topeka and had a customer that needed a tenant in a newly purchased rental property to finish closing.  It was heaven sent as there were a lot of us in the same boat.  The new location was fine for us and Barb taught school at the same school Dave attended. We spent the next month trying to find out the details so we could start rebuilding  We added 6 inch walls and kept the same floor plan.  The only real addition was a bunker on the south side so we could be sure the house was not going to ever fall on us again.  The State wrote that plan up and it is one of their hand guides for people that want a shelter.  We built a sun room on the top of the concrete bunker and it was a great place to sit and read the Sunday paper on Sunny days. 

1st step was to put the house up on rails.
Here's the rub.  If you can remember back that far, in 1983, the interest rates were horrible.  I think the Finance company that had the paper on the house called the loan and would not re-finance the new house.  I went to a lot of loan companies trying to get a good loan.  One day the Small Business Administration was in the State Defense Building for people that had lost their financing and I stopped in for a chat.  They were receptive on loaning me the money to rebuild but they too were not cheap.  I was not understanding of their rule of 1 inch of paper work for every thousand dollars.  I figured it would take about $65,000 to rebuild and I had almost $30,000 of that saved.  They didn't want to write the loan for the smaller amount so I started with the $65,000 amount.  I took my own money and started building with a Contractor My other Brother-in-law recommended.  When I got to the end of the building process, I told them that all I needed was the $35,000 and they said fine, but the payments were based on the higher amount anyway.  Sometime about January of the next year I got a call from an angry SBA lawyer and he said they had charged me too high an interest rate.  In the bargaining with him, I tried to get the payments based on the lower loan amount and the new lower interest rate.  Nope, they kept the payments at the higher amount.  I paid that sucker off n two years.  It also set us up on a path to save a lot more money as we knew the higher amount was no tall stepper for us. 

I guess another thing I should mention is for those of you that really don't understand the insurance racket.  The insurance company we had used the depreciation method to replace the interior of the house.  Thank god a lot of what we had was only slightly damaged and not destroyed.  I recommend you have replacement value on the contents.  Get a digital camera and take pictures from the middle of each room in the house and put that card in a safety deposit box or at least a fire proof safe.  Send a cop to your brother or sister for safe keeping but take the damn pictures.  You cannot imagine having to figure out the stuff in a total loss scenario. 

Let me tell you that I don't ever want to go through that again but in the end the fact that my family survived and we all are doing well in the aftermath is a blessing.  We only lived in the rebuilt hose another few years and found property out here in the country and got to rebuild the dream house we will probably live in until we die.   

Have a great week


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