Our state is one of the most hail-prone states in the country. With the arrival of spring, our storm season is flaring up. That means we have a higher threat for severe weather and hail, which often cause serious damage and injury. Hail most often damages vehicles, but it can also damage homes and buildings.
After a major hail storm, you typically have a year to file a hail damage roof insurance claim with your insurance provider. If you notice roof damage, you first must mitigate against any further loss to protect the inside of your home. If your roof is compromised after a hail storm, call your agent immediately to report a claim. Standard policies in most states require filing a claim within one year of determining that a hail storm has damaged your roof or other parts of the house. You will need to know the date of the loss and we also recommend taking photos. At that time you’ll need to discuss your deductible with your agent as well. If you suspect hail damage, contact 2-3 reputable roofers to examine your roof and provide you with a written estimate of the cost to repair or replace it.
A hail damage claim does not always raise your home insurance rate. But your rate may increase if you’ve filed a claim within three prior years, and the hail claim is your second claim. Also, if you live in a location prone to hail storms, the insurance carrier may charge a higher rate compared to places where hail is not as frequent. Finally, some states prohibit home insurers from raising rates after just one claim, so it also depends on your state laws. A good roof repair estimate should be very detailed and in writing. It should list:
•Approximate beginning and completion dates
•Any necessary building permits
•Quantity of materials needed to complete the job
•Labor charges to complete the work
•Detailed work specifications
•Procedures regarding payment for services
Be smart. Ask questions, compare the roof estimates and beware of a bid much lower than others you’ve received for the same repairs. You may always contact the local Better Business Bureau to check for complaints filed against a company. Don’t be afraid to ask your local agent or even your neighbors for advice. Once you’ve chosen a roofer, make sure the bid is signed by both parties and that you have a copy of the contract. Remember to NEVER pay in cash and be sure to keep a record of any payments made.
During the whole claims process it’s a good idea to document everything including the date of the storm, photos of any damage, names of insurance company adjusters and their contact information. Your adjuster will want to speak with you during the claims process so don’t avoid calls or emails. Return them as soon as possible so that your claim can be resolved more quickly. When an inspection is scheduled, be present so that you know exactly what takes place during that inspection. Lastly, although your agent is not involved in the adjusting of your claim, he or she should always be available for support if you have any questions or if the claims process is not being handled efficiently.