Hail stones are solid balls of ice that form in thunderstorm clouds in which a portion of the cloud is below freezing. Hailstorms can occur in any region and during any thunderstorm in which the conditions are suitable, unlike most other forms of frozen precipitation. Hail can range in size from about a quarter of an inch up to about eight inches and can cause destruction quickly. Hail damage can severely impact crops, vehicles, and homes.
Hail Damage Coverage
Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover hail damage. Hail can occur anywhere and is much less predictable than other types of weather, such as hurricanes and snow storms. The unpredictable nature of hail can make it difficult for home owners to choose coverage amounts and deductibles. A single hail storm can sometimes destroy a roof and cause considerable damage to a home, damage which can cost thousands to repair. If a home owner has chosen a policy with a high deductible or limited coverage, the home owner may not be able to afford the necessary repairs. Home owners should be sure that the deductibles and coverage amounts are understood, as the deductible and coverage for hail damage may differ from other types of damage that are covered within the policy.
Assessing Hail Damage
After a hail storm, home owners should have the home evaluated for damage by a reputable appraiser or contractor, even if there is no obvious damage. Hail can weaken a roof, which can cause the roof to leak at a later time. In some cases, hail damage can also make the roof unstable which can result in an unexpected roof collapse. An experienced appraiser or contractor will be able to spot these types of dangers and give a realistic estimate for the cost of repairs. This estimate may be useful when communicating with the insurance company regarding hail damage claims.
Hail Damage Repairs
Immediately after a hail storm, it may be necessary to make small or temporary repairs in order to prevent further damage or expense. If a portion of the roof has sustained damage, covering the damaged section with a tarp or boards may prevent rainwater from entering the home and causing damage to carpets, belongings, and floors. Boarding windows that have been broken may prevent theft as well as damage.
Temporary Repairs and Insurance
If precautions are not taken following a hail storm, the homeowner’s insurance company may refuse to cover damages that result. If it would be unrealistic or costly to make repairs, such as in the case of a collapsed roof, it may be beneficial to contact the insurance company so that the situation is understood. Home owners should also be diligent about taking pictures of the damage prior to making any repairs, so that there is documentation to submit to the insurance company. The cost of the materials used to make temporary repairs may also be reimbursed by the homeowner’s insurance company.
Hail Damage Claims
Hail damage claims should be filed as soon as possible following a hail storm. Filing the claim will start the process, which will allow the repairs to get done more quickly and prevent further damage. The insurance company will typically ask for a description of the damage and estimated values of any damaged items or property. A claims adjuster will then be sent out to assess the damage and estimate the cost of repairs. Having a professional evaluation of the damage or having a contractor present while the adjuster is assessing the damage can give the home owner an advantage and sometimes hold the homeowner’s insurance company to a higher standard.
Hail Damage Claim Disputes
Although homeowner’s insurance typically covers hail damage, companies may differ when it comes to approving claims. In some cases, the insurance may deem a roof that has sustained damage eligible for repairs but not replacement. If a homeowner is unsatisfied with the insurance company’s response to a hail damage claim, an experienced attorney may be able to provide advice and assistance.
Richards, Rick. “What the hail? Misconceptions about homeowner’s insurance and hail damage.” Consumer Insurance Guide. Consumer Insurance Guide, 26 Apr. 2012. Web. 3 June 2014.
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“Storm Damage Insurance FAQs.” Storm Damage Insurance Frequently Asked Questions. The National Storm Damage Center, n.d. Web. 3 June 2014.
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