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, you may need to cover the roof with a secured tarp to prevent leaks causing further damage to the interior of your home. Rain is in the forecast and this is an excellent preventative measure to take.

In addition to filing a home insurance claim, I have recommended my clients also call a roofer. This should be done once the claim is filed if you experienced large hail or before if you’re not sure the roof is damaged. Talk with at least two local roofers who operate out of a physical office and not a pickup with out of state tags. Ask for a couple of references and then call them to confirm they are reliable and do good work. You’ll be glad you did.

Do you have a question, comment, or experience you’d like to share? Please share them with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks!

Ed Wise

Wise Insurance Group

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