Brookville couple: Dealing with insurance companies after tornado ‘frustrating’

A month after a tornado tore down their garage, ripped off part of their roof and blew in their windows, Mike and Loni Roberts still feel lucky to be alive, but something else now accompanies that feeling: frustration.

The debris has mostly been dragged off to dumpsters and the insurance claims have been filed but now the Roberts are waiting for whatever comes next.

In their 27 years together, Mike and Loni said they never had to file a claim for damages to their home until one of 15 Memorial Day tornadoes carved through Brookville and their neighborhood of Charlie Court.

STORIES OF SURVIVAL: Brookville couple feels ‘lucky’ to be alive after tornado outbreak

“It gets kind of frustrating,” Loni said. “But, we’ll get through it. We’re moving in the right direction…baby steps, baby steps.”

An EF 4 tornado —one of the strongest of the outbreak that wreaked havoc in southwest Ohio on Memorial Day —touched down in Brookville before making its way through Trotwood, Dayton, Harrison Twp. and Riverside, according to the national weather service.

As the storm hit, Mike and Loni were in bed. The couple was awoke by their dogs barking as a floor-to-ceiling window in their family room shattered.

They could hear and feel the wind blowing into their home, prompting them to jump out of bed. Loni woke her son to get him to the basement and together the family tried to usher their dogs downstairs.

After the storm passed the Roberts found that although their home sustained damage, it was still standing. Their cars were trapped beneath the rubble of their garage and at least one of them may be totaled, Mike said.

“We got the debris removed from the garage so it’s now an open-air garage as we call it,” he joked.

Both Mike and Loni work at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Not long after the tornado, 29 of Loni’s coworkers in her department came out and helped the couple remove most of the debris from their yard.

There was so much debris from trees and parts of their garage, that it was overflowing from the Roberts’ front yard and into the street, Loni said.

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Though Mike and Loni said they’ve received help from neighbors and coworkers, dealing with insurance has been a bit more challenging.

Mike said he thought his insurance company would come out, take a look and cut him and Loni a check for the damage. But, that’s not how it’s worked out so far.

Although Mike said he knew it was going to take awhile because of the number of homes damaged or destroyed by the tornadoes, he didn’t imagine he’d still be trying to figure everything out a month later.

The repair work to their roof has been completed and glass to replace the floor-to-ceiling windows in their living room has been ordered. The couple had a lot of “content losses” in the storm though and Mike said that has been more complicated to hash out with the insurance provider.

It turned out that their garage may not have been insured for as much money as it was worth, Mike said. The couple may not get a check to pay for the garage to be completely rebuilt.

“It’s very stressful and he’s much more patient than I am,” Loni said of her husband. “We never had to file a claim before in 27 years. It is frustrating. You feel like they’re slow-balling and nothing is getting done. But then we drive down the road and see all the other houses and you think to yourself: ‘quit complaining.’”


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Stories of Recovery

It has been one month since 15 tornadoes hit the Miami Valley. This week we are sharing some of the amazing stories of people in the communities impacted by the storms and how they are recovering. Read past stories in this project, learn how to help, watch videos and more at

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