Written by Andy Gurczak

August 5, 2021

Hail Damage Insurance Claims: Things to Know

Hail Damage Insurance Claims

Did you know that hail damage is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims? They generally account for almost 70 percent of insured property losses. Hailstones usually have a diameter of about one-quarter inch and weigh a few ounces. But, now and then, they can reach the ground as large as six inches in diameter. As well as weighing over a pound each. However, hailstones don’t have to get to these extremes of size and weight to cause severe damage. And meanwhile hail damage can be extensive and expensive, in most cases, your standard homeowners insurance policy will usually cover the damage.

Luckily, most policies cover structural property damage from perils such as hail, including coverage for your roof, windows, garage, appliances, porch, or deck. Nevertheless, the actual amount that will be covered for repairs depends on the limits and deductibles you chose when you purchased your policy. So what should you know about hail damage insurance claims? Find out down below.

Hail Damage Insurance Claim Home Damage

What Type of Insurance Do I Need to Cover Hail Damage?

The type of insurance you need depends on what you want to insure and where you live. For example, home insurance pays to repair or replace your house if it’s damaged or destroyed by certain covered perils, such as fire and wind. Furthermore, homeowners insurance also covers personal property such as your furniture, clothes and other items you own.

Moreover, if you have Loss of Use Coverage, also known as Additional Living Expenses, your policy will cover some of your expenses if you have to temporarily move because your house is too damaged to live in. For instance, some of the expenses covered by Loss of Use are temporary rent and extra meal costs. Likewise and most important, standard home insurance is meant to cover hail damage in any case.

Besides helping businesses repair or replace property that’s damaged by an event covered by the policy, commercial property insurance could also cover hail damage depending on the circumstances. This includes farms and ranches. In fact, business interruption coverage may pay for lost income and some expenses if you have to close your business because of hail damage.

Replacement Cost VS Actual Cash Value

Nevertheless, the type and amount of coverage you receive for hail damage depends on what kind of policy you have. For instance, a replacement cost policy will pay to fully replace the damaged portion of your home based on current construction costs. On the other hand, an actual cash value policy will decrease your payment based on the age or wear of your home or business.

For example, let’s say it will cost $30,000 to replace your 10-year-old roof after hail damage, and your home policy has a $3,000 deductible. A policy with replacement cost will pay $27,000 ($30,000 – $3,000). Meanwhile, a policy with actual cash value coverage will take into account the age of your roof. This is usually done with a depreciation schedule. If the value of your roof had depreciated more than half after 10 years, this policy would pay $12,000 ($15,000 – $3,000).

Understanding Hail Damage Deductible

Your deductible is the amount you pay before the insurance company pays their part. It’s usually offered as a percentage of your coverage amount. However, some companies certainly do offer a fixed dollar amount. In fact, some policies have separately higher deductibles for windstorm and hail claims than other types of claim in high risk areas.

Moreover, remember that although higher deductibles will lower your premium, you will have to pay more out of your own pocket if you have a claim. It’s important to scrutinize your prospective homeowners insurance policy before purchasing to ensure you are getting a policy that fits your risk tolerance for potential hail damage. To learn more about how your insurer handles deductibles, contact your insurance agent and feel free to ask any questions. You should also consider consulting any other type of insurance professionals, such as a public adjuster, in order to make a well informed decision about your deductible options.

Hail Damage Insurance Claim Hails

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Hail Damage?

Like we mentioned above, depending on the circumstances, homeowners insurance will usually cover hail damage to your roof and other parts of your home. But hail is more frequent in certain areas of the country. And therefore, insurance policies in those regions certainly are more likely to include restrictions to their hail damage coverage, as previously noted.

Although whether or not you live in a region that’s at risk, hail storms can happen almost anywhere. Thus, determining exactly how much damage a hail storm has done to your home and how much coverage you will receive, can be difficult. If your home is impacted by a hail storm, you should hire professional help to independently assess the damage and help

determine whether you should file. Furthermore, do keep in mind that these professionals, such as a public adjuster, can help negotiate claims and solicit appraisals. So if you do file a claim, they can make sure you get compensation.

However, don’t just assume your insurance will cover hail damage

Be sure to review your homeowners policy beforehand. Therefore, you’ll ensure that wind and hail damage is indeed included in your policy. If it’s excluded, you may need to explore separate wind insurance coverage, which is typically a state insurance program.

Exclusions to Hail Damage Coverage for Cosmetic Damage

An increasing number of homeowners insurance policies are excluding cosmetic damage for their hail coverage. Therefore, if the damage caused by hail is simply cosmetic, thus meaning it only affects the aesthetics rather than the function of the house, you will not be covered in the event of a claim.

However, the line between cosmetic and functional can be uncertain. For instance, what may begin as minor dents in your roof may eventually evolve into more serious structural damage. In addition, damage that is labeled cosmetic can affect the resale value of the property, requiring homeowners to pay for their own repairs or sell their houses at a discount.

So, if your homeowners insurance policy has a cosmetic exclusion, you can choose to seek coverage from insurance providers that waive the exclusion. Moreover, in the event of a dispute between you and your insurer over whether damage is considered cosmetic or functional, you can hire a public adjuster to investigate the claim.

Will Filing a Claim for Hail Damage Increase my Insurance Rates?

Damage caused by hail is an unexpected event that the policyholder cannot control or prevent. Therefore, your insurer likely won’t raise your rates for hail damage because the damage was unpreventable. However, this doesn’t mean hail storms can’t lead to higher premiums. If the frequency of hail storms where you live increases it’s possible that homeowners insurance rates for the region as a whole will increase.

If you Have Hail Damage, Act Immediately!

If your home was damaged by hail, call your agent or insurance company and take action immediately. Take a picture or videos of the hailstones next to an item that can indicate the size of hailstones. These pictures will prove as evidence for the magnitude of the damage. Moreover, and most important, take photos of any damage to siding, windows, or shingles.

Some insurance companies put a limitation on how much time you have to file an insurance claim for a hail loss. So if you believe you have damage, don’t hesitate to file a hail damage insurance claim.

Filing a Hail Damage Insurance Claim

First, make an inventory before any hail damage happens.

The first step to filing a claim comes before a hail storm even happens. Document the condition of your home and create an inventory. Therefore, remember to take pictures and videos of your home’s inside and outsides. Furthermore, make a list of the items you own and update it at least once a year. In addition, include the serial number, value, and date you bought each item. This documentation will serve as proof of the condition of your home before the damage occurred. Thus assuring of a fair settlement.

Moreover, protect your property from the storm if it’s possible to avoid hail damage

If you have time before the storm hits:

  • First, cover windows and sliding glass doors with storm shutters or plywood panels. Use heavy-duty masking tape on small windows.
  • Second, move furniture and other items away from windows and to an upper floor.
    Then, move cars into a garage.
  • Also check tie-downs if you live in a mobile home.
  • After, move lawn furniture and other loose items indoors.
  • In addition, trim dead wood from trees. This will help prevent damage from falling limbs.
  • Last but certainly not least, lock your doors and windows if you leave your house.

Hail Damage Insurance Claim

After the hail storm

To help the insurance claims process go smoothly:

  • First, call your insurance agent or company as soon as you can to report damage.
  • Once you call, take pictures and video of your damaged property. Remember no to throw away damaged items until your insurance adjuster has seen them.
  • Equally important is to make temporary repairs to protect your home and property from more damage. For example, remove standing water or cover broken windows and holes to keep rain out. However, don’t make permanent repairs before the insurance adjuster sees the damage. Keep a list of the repairs you make and save all receipts.
  • Furthermore, try to be there if the insurance adjuster comes over to inspect your damage. If possible, have a personal insurance professional make their own estimates of your damages. Make sure your contractor reviews the adjuster’s report before you settle the claim.

What if I disagree with the insurance adjuster’s estimate of my hail damage?

If you disagree with the adjuster’s estimate, tell your insurer and offer an explanation. You could also ask your contractor to talk to the adjuster. However, if that doesn’t work, you can use the appraisal process or hire a public insurance adjuster to help negotiate a settlement.
With this in mind, the appraisal process is available only for disputes about the amount of your claim. You can not use it for disputes about whether the damage is covered by your policy.
Furthermore, public insurance adjusters help negotiate claim settlements with insurance companies. They work for you, not the insurance company. Therefore, they will work tirelessly to maximize your claim and make sure you receive every benefit you are entitled to.

Claim payments for hail damage insurance cliam

Once you and the company agree on a settlement amount, the company has five business days to pay your claim. However, if you have a mortgage, the company will usually send the check to your mortgage company. You’ll then have to work with the mortgage company to get the money released for repairs.

Hail Damage Claims Process

Your insurance company must acknowledge your claim within 15 days of receiving it. Then, they will likely ask you for more information relating to the claim. After your company receives the information they solicited, the company must then accept or reject your claim within 15 business days. However, if the company denies your claim, it must tell you why in writing. With this in mind, do be aware that deadlines may be longer after large local disasters.

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At AllCity Adjusting we help residential and commercial clients alike get the claims support they need. Moreover, we have over 50 years of combined experience helping get our clients the max settlement time and time again. If your claim has been low balled or denied entirely we can help increase your maximum settlement. Call us today for a FREE consultation. Experience the AllCity difference.

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