There’s an adage that says, “Lightening doesn’t strike the same place twice.” That may or may not be true for lightening, but hail, it appears, isn’t that selective. The storm that raked across north Texas last week struck many of the same communities and homes that were struck on March 23. One of the first calls I received from clients was from a couple who were hit by both storms. I think this is a good backdrop to address the question of how insurance companies respond to multiple hail claims for the same client.
There are a couple of different claim types I dealt with last week I’ll use to frame this post; how insurance companies respond to multiple hail claims on the same home, and how some companies respond when both the home and vehicles are struck by the same storm. To further break this down, let’s divide multiple hail claims on the same home into two different categories based on where you are in the claim process from the first storm.
Multiple Home Claim Scenario 1: In the case of the couple who were hit by both storms, they’d filed the claim for roof damage that occurred on March 23. Their field claim adjuster had already reviewed the damage, filed his report, and their claim was approved. Payment for their claim arrived, ironically, on the day they were struck by softball sized hail from the second storm.
This couple incurred more damage to their home from the second storm. In their case, since their claim process was well underway, damage from the second storm would be handled as a second claim, with a separate deductible and payment. They went ahead and filed a second claim because of the additional damage to their home.
Multiple Home Claim Scenario 2: Had the field adjuster not arrived at the couple’s home prior to the second hail storm, the insurance company would have responded differently. Since it is difficult to differentiate between damage caused by two hail storms which occurred so close together, the insurance company would have combined the damage into one claim with a single deductible as if there’d only been one storm.
Home and Vehicle Claims: Several people experienced hail damage to both their home and their vehicles in the two most recent storms. When this happens, insurance companies will process the claims separately; one claim for the vehicles on the car insurance policy, and a second claim for the home under the home policy. Some companies, however, will waive the comprehensive deductible on the car insurance claim due both claims occurring from the same event.
Safeco is one such company that has this practice and that provides a potential savings of hundreds of dollars depending on what your comprehensive deductible is. If both your home and vehicle(s) were damaged by one of the recent storms, ask your adjuster if they will waive the comprehensive deductible too.
What’s Fair: Is it fair for the couple whose home was damaged twice by two different storms to have two separate hail claims with separate deductibles? I believe the insurance company decision to process it this way was correct based on there being two separate events which constitutes two separate claims. The timing is awful, not to mention the financial burden of having a second deductible. I also agree with how their claim would have been handled had the field adjuster not inspected their home prior to the second storm. In this case, the adjuster’s efficiency could be viewed as very unhelpful!
What do you think? Share your thoughts, experiences, and questions with me on my Facebook, Google +, or LinkedIn pages, even if you disagree. I’d love to hear from you!