Hail season in north Texas typically runs from April through June each year. You wouldn’t know that considering the two hail storms that struck our area in March. The combined estimated losses are around $1.1 billion dollars in damages to homes, cars, and business property. It makes you wonder what the rest of the season may look like!
With these two storms as our backdrop, I decided to put together a three part series which addresses a couple of topics related to home insurance and the client calls I’ve received over the past few weeks. This week’s post deals with the first step I recommend in the claim process. Next week’s post I’ll discuss the claim process and how your claim will be paid, and then we’ll finish the series by talking about finding the right roofer.
I’ve received a number of phone calls from clients in Arlington, the mid-cities, Richardson, Garland, Plano, and other parts of Dallas and Colin Counties over the past couple of weeks. Many were home when the hail fell, while other’s had to dodge flying ice and plastic as sky lights were shattered. All were descended upon by the locust cloud of roofers who were knocking on doors in their neighborhood and offering their services.
I recommended the first step any homeowner take is to call 2 or 3 local roofers and have them look at their roof. There are three things a good roofer will be able to tell you; whether or not you have hail damage, and if so, is there enough damage to warrant a claim. They should also be able to provide you with an estimate of what it will take to repair or replace your roof.
Is there hail damage: Hail does not fall in a uniform manner. It’s not the same size. I’ve seen instances where one house was hit, but their neighbor’s wasn’t, so there’s no guarantee that your roof was hit, or if it was, there’s enough damage to file a claim. In addition, there’s no way to tell there’s damage by looking at a roof from the ground. A professional roofer will need get on your roof to look at indentations and strike groupings.
Is it claim worthy: Even when a home is hit by hail, there may not be enough damage to file a claim. Insurance companies look at the number of strikes on a roof and their density in a given area. This is usually specified area such as a 10 foot by 10 foot, or some other size, section of roof. In addition, they will know to look at gutters and downspouts, flashing around vents and fire places, arbors, trellises, and other attached structures. The experienced roofers will be able to confirm you have enough damage to file a claim.
Estimate: All roofers should provide you with an accurate estimate of what it will cost to repair or replace the roof. I suggest all my clients obtain 2 or 3 estimates from local roofers even if they know they know they have enough damage to file a claim. This provides information the homeowner needs to help them deal with the claim adjuster regarding the cost of replacing the roof is discussed.
Lastly, remember that according to Texas state law, insurance agents are not allowed to tell you to file a claim, nor can they discourage you from filing a claim. It’s your choice, as it should be. Your agent should provide you with the amount your home is covered for, how much your deductible is, and how to reach claims should you desire to initiate a hail claim.
Do you have a question, comment, or experience you’d like to share with me? Please do so on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn accounts. I’d love to hear from you!