Insurance Claims for Hail Damage to Roofing - What to Expect
june 9th, 2020 updated 10:00AM CT
When you live in an area like San Antonio, Texas, it’s not uncommon to experience hailstorms. While most hailstorms result in small pin sized hail balls, it’s also not uncommon to see hail chunks the size of golf balls. And when you see hail chunks the size of golf balls, it’s only inevitable that some type of damage will follow the storm – most often to vehicles or roofs. So when hail storms hit, it’s important that you know how to handle them. Part of knowing how to handle them involves understanding how the roofing insurance claims process works in regards to hail damage. So let’s talk about that.
What should you do to prepare for a hailstorm?
Before we dive into how insurance claims work for hail damage, why don’t we first talk a little about how you can prevent this damage from happening in the first place. Why? Because you don’t want to deal with insurance companies if you don’t have to. Insurance companies in San Antonio deal with a lot of claims following hailstorms, so they can take a long time to process. The best thing to do is to avoid damage altogether.
Here’s how you can lessen your chances of roof shingles or metal roofing damage in a hailstorm:
• Have your roof checked regularly. Generally speaking, you should have your roofing inspected by a professional roofing company or contractor at least once a year. If you are expecting a large hail storm, you should also have it inspected before the storm hits. Small repairs can quickly turn into larger problems during a hailstorm. A small leak, for example, can quickly become a large leak in stormy weather. If you can find these problems before the storm, you can prevent further damage from incurring.
• Repair your roofing with hail resistant materials. If you live in an area that is prone to hail storms, you might want to consider investing in hail resistant roofing. Shingles that are listed as “impact resistant” are better able to tolerate harsh weather conditions than regular shingles. Speak to a roofing company to discuss your options.
• Tie down or remove any loose objects. One of the most common causes of roof storm damage in a hailstorm is flying objects or debris. Wind can become very high during a hailstorm, blowing anything that is not tied down onto the roof. To prevent roof damage from flying debris, move anything you can indoors before a storm and clear any fallen branches or debris from your yard.
Filing a Hail Damage Insurance Claim
Did you know that most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover hail damage? If you live in an area like San Antonio that is prone to hailstorms, it’s important that you read over your policy so that you can understand exactly what it does and does not cover. If your insurance policy does not cover hail damage, it may be worth investing a small amount into hail damage insurance. It is not uncommon for harsh weather to hit Texas and when it does your roof can be at risk. And because roofing is so expensive, you’ll want to have insurance coverage if something goes wrong.
If you do have insurance coverage for hail damage, there’s a few things you’ll want to do immediately following the storm:
• Document as much as you can. You’ll want to have as many notes as you can to show the insurance company. At the very least, take note of the date of the storm, the time of the storm, and the time at which you believe the damage occurred.
• Photograph the damage. Immediately following the storm, take photos of any damage that occurred during the storm. Take as many pictures as you can, including photos of other areas that have not been damaged. It’s also not a bad idea to take photographs before the storm so that you can later prove that the hail in fact, caused the damage.
• Measure. Measure. Measure. If possible, go outside and measure the size of the hailstones on the ground. Document this measurement. Then, take a measurement of any damages to your roof like dents. Document this as well.
• Notify your Insurance Company immediately. Don’t wait for a week to contact your insurance company. The sooner you make a claim, the more likelihood you have of proving your case.
• Keep your receipts. If you’ve had any repairs made before you have the opportunity to contact the insurance company, be sure to save your receipts. These will be necessary for the insurance agency to provide you with a refund.
If you have your roof inspected before the storm, you’ll also want to keep documents like this. This will help you to prove that any damage was related to the hailstorm and was not present beforehand. It also shows that you did everything that you could to prevent damage from occurring, which may be important in fighting your case.
Common Insurance Claim Mistakes
When it comes to roofing, there are some common mistakes that people make:
•They don’t file a claim. One of the most common mistakes that people make with their insurance claims is not filing one at all. This may sound silly but you’d be surprised how many people don’t file a valid claim because they are afraid that their insurance is going to go up or be cancelled. While this is true for some types of insurance, it’s not the case for homeowner’s insurance. When you file a claim based on a naturally occurring incident, insurance rates do not go up nor do they become cancelled. So if you have a valid claim, don’t be afraid to file it.
• They file an unnecessary claim. If your repairs are small, don’t waste your time filing a claim – just pay for the repair. Insurance claims are meant for larger damages like large dents, large paint chips, damaged air conditioners, or cracked skylights. If your damages are very small, don’t file a claim. It wastes both your time and the time of the insurance company. If you aren’t sure whether your roofing damages are worth filing a claim, contact a reputable roofing contractor to come and make an inspection.
• They hire a storm chaser. Storm chasers are exactly what they sound like – contractors that chase storms in search of people who will hire them for roof repairs. Not only are many storm chasers not properly experienced to find damages, but also many will actually create damage in order to make a quick buck. If you have experienced a hailstorm, hire a legitimate company or contractor to come and take a look at your roof. Always do your homework before you hire any roofing contractor to look for repairs.
How does the Insurance Claim Work?
Once you have filed an insurance claim for your roof system, an adjuster will be sent out to take a look for any visible signs of damage. During this time they may also contact any contractors that have assessed the damage.
Once the adjuster has assessed the damage to your roof, they will come up with an estimate for your property. Shortly after is when you should receive your first check known as the “Actual Cost Value”. Once all of the work is completed you will get a second check to cover any depreciation.
If you are expecting a hailstorm in the near future, book a professional roof inspection today and start documenting any damage immediately after the storm. The more evidence you have, the higher the likelihood that you will win your claim.