Insurance companies are increasingly denying claims for hail damage, even in areas where severe storms are common. In Texas, for example, reports of softball-sized hail have become more common in recent years, yet insurance companies are regularly denying claims for hail damage. This is particularly frustrating for policyholders who have been loyal to their insurers for years, only to be denied coverage when they need it most. While it's understandable that insurers want to avoid paying out large sums of money for hail damage, the denial of valid claims is becoming a serious problem. Our Texas attorneys at The Voss Law Firm explain why your claim may be denied, and where to go from there.
Types of Damage Hail Can Cause
Hail can range from a small bb size all the way up to a large softball size. No matter how small or large hail is, it can cause devastating damage to your car, home, and other structures. Some examples of hail damage include:
- Shattered windshields and dents on cars
- Broken windows on homes
- Damages roofs on homes and businesses
- Damaged brick around homes
Why Was my Claim Denied?
Wind and hail claims are among the most common homeowners claims made in the State of Texas. Unfortunately, the damage hail causes to your house is not always something that you notice right away. It may take weeks or months before you notice a water leak inside your home. Most homeowners do not inspect their roof to determine if a storm has damaged their home. As a result, insurance companies often deny claims that are not made immediately after a storm. If you believe that your home has been damaged by a recent storm, it is important to contact your insurance company as soon as possible. An insurance adjuster will be able to inspect your property and determine if the damage is covered by your policy. A few main reasons your claim may be denied include the following:
Failure to Make Payments on Time
Most homeowners' insurance policies are either monthly or quarterly payments. If customers fall behind on their payments, this can be used as a reason to deny any claims they bring forth. For example, if a hail storm occurs and the customer has not made their previous payments, the insurance company may use this as an excuse to deny the claim. Insurance companies often have strict rules and regulations surrounding claims and payouts, so it's important for customers to be aware of these before filing a claim.
Hail Damage Doesnt Meet Deductable
Insurance companies typically send an inspector to assess the damage following a claim being filed. The inspector looks for evidence of hail damage, among other things. Insurance companies generally want to minimize their payout, so the inspector may be incentivized to underreport the total damage. In cases of severe damage, it can be beneficial to hire an independent inspector to get a second opinion.
Filing Your Claim Late
Insurance policies typically have a window in which claims must be filed after the date the damage occurred. It is essential to read the small print of your policy to understand how much time you have to file your claim. Insurance companies may deny claims if they are filed outside of the specified window, so it is important to be aware of the deadlines.
When to Appeal a Hail Damage Claim
If your hail damage claim was denied, there are four steps you should take:
Find Out Why
If you've filed an insurance claim for hail damage and it's been denied, you have a right to receive a written explanation of the denial within 15 days of providing all requested information. The letter should give clear, specific reasons for the denial, and should reference the section of your policy that supports the denial. If you don't have a denial letter, be sure to request one from the insurance company or adjuster.
Review Your Insurance Policy
If you believe that your insurance company has acted in bad faith, it is important to understand your policy and compare the denial reason(s) with the language in your policy. If the reasons are ambiguous or vague, you should request further clarification in writing from your insurance company. Insurance companies have a duty to act in good faith, and if they fail to do so, you may be entitled to compensation.
Keep Track of All Documents
First, document the date the damage occurred, as well as any details about the damage. This can include photos or videos of the damage, if possible. It's also important to keep a copy of the claim itself, as well as any correspondence you receive from the insurance company. Finally, make sure you keep track of all conversations you have related to the claim, including dates, times, and names of each interaction.
Get Assistance to Enforce Your Policy
If your insurance company is giving you the run-around or refusing to pay out on a claim, it may be time to get some help. Insurance claims can be complex, and it's important to have someone on your side who knows how to navigate the system. An experienced attorney can help you get the compensation you're entitled to, and they can also offer guidance on what to do if your claim is denied.
We Can Help With Your Denied Claim
If you have suffered damage or loss after a hail storm in your Texas home, contact an experienced insurance claim attorney to protect your legal rights and interests. To learn more, contact The Voss Law Firm, P.C. for a free consultation by using our contact form or calling our office at 888-614-7730. We have recovered billions of dollars in settlements for our insurance policyholder clients and do not charge a fee unless we win your case.