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Car Insurance and Hail Claims

Car Insurance and Hail Claims

I received an email from a friend of mine who’s a commercial underwriter with a local insurance brokerage. All three of their cars were struck by hail from Sunday night’s storm. Two of the three vehicles are total losses and she wanted to know their options so they could make a good financial decision that right for them. Lots of people in the area from Justin, Denton, Highland Village, Lewisville, Frisco, McKinney and Little Elm will have some major decisions to make if their vehicles are determined to be a total loss from hail damage.  I thought it timely to reprise a post I wrote last year after the three hail storms rocked north Texas. Let’s examine what car insurance coverage applies, determining whether to file a claim, and options if your car is totaled. Hail coverage: The two biggest deductibles on a Texas car insurance policy are referred to as collision and comprehensive. Collision applies to accidents or wrecks, while comprehensive coverage applies to a variety of events including hail damage. If you have comprehensive coverage, then hail damage is covered. Deductibles range anywhere from $100 to over $1,000 depending on what you selected. Rental reimbursement: Most people do carry rental car reimbursement coverage. This pays for a rental car whenever your car is in the shop for an approved claim. If you don’t have this coverage, then you’ll have to pay out of pocket for the rental car, or beg everyone you know for a ride. Given the probable number of damaged vehicles, body shops will be backed up. This coverage certainly helps if your car’s in the shop for 3 or 4 weeks! File a claim or not: In cases where there’s minor damage to your vehicle, I suggest getting an estimate at your local body shop and comparing it to your comprehensive deductible. This will help you determine whether filing a claim is worth it. Now if your car was severely damaged, then proceed directly and file a car insurance claim. Repair Shop Options: Many of my clients wonder where to take their vehicles to have them repaired. Most of the larger body shops (Herb’s Paint and Body, Service King, Caliber, etc.) have direct relationships with most car insurance companies. Progressive has their own concierge shops in the area where you can drop the car off, file a claim, pick up a rental car, and be on your way. If you don’t like any of these options, remember, Texas state law allows you to get your vehicle repaired at the shop of your choice. What if it’s totaled: I’ve had several clients whose cars were totaled by hail. The decision...

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Hail Storms and Insurance Claims

Hail Storms and Insurance Claims

Hail season arrived in north Texas early this year with a storm which swept across north Texas from Justin to McKinney. The hail was from softball to golf ball size with the larger hail occurring around the Denton area and becoming smaller as it traveled toward McKinney. Initial estimates will be forthcoming in a few days, but I expect the insurance claims to be significant given the size of the hail and how widespread the storm was. I received several calls, text and email messages from clients affected by Sunday night’s storm.  Let’s review what to do in handling an insurance claim after such a storm. Car Damage: If you live in the area hit by Sunday’s hail and your car was parked outside, then it is easy to determine whether hail damaged it. Hail damage is covered by comprehensive coverage so if you have a comprehensive, or other than collision, deductible repairs will be covered. You’ll need to provide your car insurance policy number and a statement as to what happened when you call a claim department. You’ll be assigned to an adjuster and given a claim number. Once you have a claim number, take your vehicle to a body shop and obtain an estimate for repairs. You may need to schedule the repair work depending on the volume of cars damaged and parts availability so discuss this with the shop. You’ll also want to talk with the car rental company quickly too as last year there was a shortage of rental cars due to the number of hail related repairs. Two clients called to discuss steps to file a car insurance claim but mentioned nothing about their roof. If your vehicle was damaged by the hail, there’s a really good chance your roof was damaged too and may warrant filing a home insurance claim at the same time. Home Damage: The size hail which fell across the area Sunday night was large enough to damage most roofs. Insurance companies responded by sending catastrophe teams to the D/FW area Sunday evening and Monday to help speed the claim response process. You’ll need your home policy number when calling the insurance company to file a claim and they’ll want to get a statement from you at that time. You may have more than roof damage. Siding, windows, doors, garage doors, fascia, downspouts and gutters, fences, pool equipment, lawn furniture, and storage sheds were damaged in last year’s storms. Have those items reviewed by the adjuster and take pictures for your own documentation. These items should be covered by your home insurance policy. If you experienced broken shingles or holes punched through the roof’s decking,...

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