Post written by KC Keith, Vice President/General Manager at Stockman Insurance
Should I file a hail claim on my home?
Or, should a contractor inspect it first?
Those are the two questions we hear most often after a hail storm.
According to Safeco, “Hailstorms cause approximately $1 billion in damage every year, according to the National Storm Damage Center.
Depending on the intensity of the storm, hailstones can range from dime-sized to softball-sized stones and fall in random patterns due to gusty winds.
Damage can vary considerably, from one property to the next, due to factors such as:
- Wind: Hailstones are driven by wind and often strike the roof at an angle.
- Roof Position: The slopes of the roof facing the storm usually suffer the most damage.
- Roof Age: Older roofs are more susceptible to hail damage due to granular wear.
- Size and Pattern: Hailstones usually fall in random patterns and size.
Due to all this, there’s no one-size-fits-all claims decision in an area impacted by hail – even for two homes right next to one another.”
That’s why insurance companies send a field adjuster to look at the home for possible damage.
The adjuster will physically look at the home and roof. A fresh hail dent on your roof will appear black from the newly exposed asphalt, and there may be dents to air conditioner fans, vents, and rain gutters.
People often wonder if they should file a claim right away, or wait until the hail season is over just in case there is another storm.
It’s a good idea to contact your agent and notify them of possible damage.
If you aren’t sure that there’s damage, the company can send an adjuster out to take a look.
You should not be charged a surcharge for filing a claim if there turns out to be no damage and the company pays nothing.
Scheduling repairs can take time, and the contractors usually prioritize according to the amount of damage and need for repair.
The most important thing to remember is to stay safe and make sure you mitigate any further losses.
If a storm breaks a window or damages your roof and causes a leak, you must make temporary repairs to stop more damage from happening.
Save your receipts so you can turn them into your agent, who will then forward them on to the insurance company for you. The insurance company will deal with the contractor to come to an agreement on repair costs.
You, as an insured, should never have to be caught in the middle of the negotiations. All “supplemental” or additional costs of repair need to be authorized by the company prior to being done. If they aren’t, the company can deny those charges.
During the claim process, be sure to check with your agent if you have questions or if something that an adjuster tells you doesn’t sound right. The agent can always call the company to get clarification.
One last thing to keep in mind; if a storm downs a power line, always assume the line is live, or hot. Stay clear of it, and notify the utility company so they can send out a repair crew and block off the area to avoid injuries.
Give any of us at Stockman Insurance a call if you have any questions. We’re here to help!