Should I File an Insurance Claim for Hail Damage?
Meet Sandra. Sandra is enjoying the Spring weather in Colorado with her blooming tulips, evening walks and cozy reading by the fire during the afternoon rain. Until she hears a recent thunderstorm approaching and hears hail start beating down on her roof.
Sandra quickly rushes outside with an umbrella to cover her freshly planted garden with laundry baskets since she hasn’t set up her portable greenhouse yet over the garden bed. Returning back inside as the hail increases in size and duration, Sandra feels lucky to have preserved her plants through the storm with little or no damage.
The next day, a knock on her door comes from a nice gentleman with a polo shirt asking to look at her roof to see if there was any damage from the hail storm. She accepted the free service and went back inside while he walked around the roof.
Around 20 minutes went by and he knocked again showing photos of roof shingles indicating they were damaged by the recent hail storm. He asked Sandra what her hail deductible is on her home insurance – Sandra had never really paid much attention and didn’t know.
He encouraged her to file an insurance claim to repair her damaged roof. With his help, a claim was filed, a second person, called an insurance adjuster, came out on behalf of the insurance provider to double-check and verify the damage on Sandra’s roof. Weeks later, Sandra got a letter back that her claim was not approved due to a shingle defect, not hail damage.
Don’t let this happen to you. Now Sandra has a claim on her record (which will probably increase her annual insurance premium).
Why did the sales guy think there was hail damage but the insurance adjuster did not?
How Do I Know If I Have Hail Damage?
After a hail storm, take a picture and measure the size of the hail from the storm. Then ask yourself, how old is your roof? Field observations and ice stone impact tests provide correlation between hail stone size and damage potential for common roofing materials. (Damage defined as a diminution of water-shedding capability or a reduction in the expected long-term life of the roofing material.)
Surveys conducted also highlighted lighter, thinner and older products were most susceptible to hail damage and had the lowest damage thresholds. ( Term “threshold” was defined as the onset of damage to the roofing product.)
Based on these studies alone, you don’t need to physically look at your roof to determine if there was potential for damage. If you have measured your hail size, taken into account your roofing material and age of your roof, you may determine there was potential for hail damage. What now?
Get A Roof Inspection
If you suspect hail damage, search for a trusted roofing contractor in your area to complete an inspection. Be careful during this step. The guy who knocked on Sandra’s door completed an inspection too and the claim was denied. What is the difference now? YOU are the one selecting the company to complete the inspection.
How you select that company makes the difference. Here are a few questions to ask when searching for a roofing contractor to complete a hail inspection:
- What is your insurance claims process? Ask them to walk you through, step-by-step what they do to ensure a claim should be filed.
- How often do insurance claims submitted by your company get denied? (Or claims approved X% of the time)
- Do you work directly with insurance companies to file the claim?
- Does your company have a process to work with my mortgage company to ensure payment?
- Do you attend the adjuster appointment?
- What happens after a claim is approved?
- What do you do if a claim is denied?
- Will you handle my entire claim or just my roof? (A lot of roofing companies out there, not a lot of companies who look at your entire house – siding, windows, roof etc.)
Answers to these questions should help you feel confident in choosing a local, trusted company that knows how to navigate the insurance claims process with you and keep you in the loop the entire time. (Some companies help file the claim then think their job is done.)
Find Out Your Hail Deductible Before Storm Season – Don’t Wait!
Perhaps by now you have narrowed down a few contractor companies and scheduled an inspection or two. In the meantime, look into your home insurance and find out what your hail deductible is, especially if you are coming up for renewal. Be aware leading up to Spring (May-June) each year what your deductible is.
When selecting your deductible, a higher deductible will cost more out of pocket when hail damage does occur, but keeps your insurance premium lower. A low deductible is nice to have when a hail storm comes around, you may even be hoping for damage in this situation, but can increase your annual premium significantly.
There are two types of hail/wind deductibles to be aware of:
Dollar Amount: Your deductible is a specific amount you must pay before your insurer pays the remaining portion. For example, you have a hail storm and the damages are $3,000. If your deductible is $1,000, you pay that amount and your homeowners insurance company takes care of the remaining $2,000.
Percentage: If your Wind/Hail loss deductible is displayed as a percentage, the deductible amount is based upon the current Dwelling Coverage amount. For example, if you have $250,000 of coverage on your home and a 2% deductible, your deductible amount is $5,000 (2% of $250,000 = $5,000). This is the amount you will have to pay, while your insurer would pay the remaining portion.
Lets say Sandra has a $5000 deductible. Will hail damages exceed that amount?
Location, Age and Type of Materials Matter
When a hail storm hits, the homes at the eye of the storm will likely receive larger hail stones and/or frequency, likely causing more hail damage to your home. This amount of damage will vary significantly by the materials on your roofing, siding and windows as well as the how old the material is. Homes located on the outskirts of a storm may receive some damage as well but a repair is more likely than a full replacement of a roof or siding.
Let’s say Sandra was located on the outskirts of the storm. After an inspection, it looks like she may have some damage, but not more than her deductible of $5000. In this scenario, it may be better to wait for another storm unless you are prepared to pay for the repairs on your own.
Perhaps Sandra’s home was located in the eye of the storm with large stones hitting her asphalt shingle roof. There is a high chance she has damage, enough to warrant a claim and full replacement of a roof (or siding). In this scenario, filing a claim would be recommended by the trusted contractor after inspection.
Warranties and Claims – How Are They related?
Most all roofing warranties are good for ten years and can be transferred to a second homeowner within 60 days of home purchase, depending on the manufacturer. Roof warranties are offered by manufactures such as GAF at different levels. Specific products qualify and some warranties can be purchased to last longer than the standard ten years. No roofing warranty will cover storm damage. Storm damage is directly tied to insurance.
Endeavor Insurance Process
We want you to know exactly what you are going to get when working with Endeavor Exteriors through an insurance claim. The process can be really confusing and we can help you determine if filing a claim will be for your benefit. It is not in our best interest to encourage you to file a claim if it could be denied. We inspect your entire home, not just your roof. Below is a step by step process when considering if you have storm damage. We
- Call Endeavor before you file a claim (You do not want to file claims if you don’t have damage or don’t have enough damage to exceed your deductible)
- Inspection Appointment – our team will come out and do a full property photo report, detailing damages
- Review inspection photo report with homeowner.
- Advise whether you should or should not file a claim based on damage and deductible. If damage is higher than deductible, you will be advised to file a claim.
- Our team will file the claim with you on the spot (if preferred) over the phone. Or we leave you with information and you can decide to file the claim whenever you are comfortable.
- Your insurance company will receive the information then you will get a call from an insurance adjuster to schedule another inspection appointment.
- You will call the Endeavor Team to let us know when the adjuster appointment is confirmed (very important).
- Endeavor team member meets with insurance adjuster during his inspection.
- Endeavor and Adjuster agree to damages.
- If we don’t agree to damages with the first adjuster, we will ask for re-inspection with another adjuster. You will let your insurance company know you don’t agree with adjuster inspection and request another. (Endeavor team member can call with customer to request a new adjuster). Insurance company reviews first one and notes before determining a second. Reinspection happens when an adjuster is newer to the industry or trained to not get claims approved.
- You tell Endeavor Team when the next adjuster appointment is so a team member can be on-site again during the inspection appointment.
- Insurance company lets you know if your claim is approved or denied. If denied, public adjusters are licensed insurance adjusters who can fight insurance company more than contractors if needed (Customer must engage and pay them, they receive around 10%). Going the public adjuster route is only recommended when clear storm damage has been identified but insurance is refusing to approve the claim.
- Claim approved and appointment is scheduled with Endeavor Team for the repair or replacement of roofing or siding damages.
Need an inspection for hail damage? Let’s talk.