When a major hailstorm affects a large area, it isn’t unusual to also see widespread denials of commercial hail insurance claims in the weeks and months that follow. And, although they’re often very unlike the other businesses in their regions, churches are still affected by very similar issues with their insurance companies and coverage.
Hail is one of the most common drivers of commercial property damage claims submitted each year, and—without the help of the insurance company—repairing the damage can be prohibitively costly for religious organizations. However, it can also be very costly for insurance companies, and they do take steps to minimize their own losses after a major storm. If you are responsible for submitting insurance claims for a church property, make sure that you’re prepared for the potential issues that can come up as you work to resolve a hail insurance claim.
Three Ways Hail Insurance Claims Become a Headache for Churches and Religious Organizations
Unfortunately, there are a lot of problems that can come up after damage to church buildings. When it comes to hail damage, however, these are three very common insurance issues that affect churches:
- The insurance company claims the damage wasn’t caused by hail. The church roof didn’t start leaking until the storm hit, but the insurance company insists that the damage you’ve reported wasn’t caused by hail. What happens now? It’s often a good idea to get another opinion from an experienced contractor of your own choosing, who can help you determine the real cause of the property damage and how extensive the hail damage really was.
- The insurance policy excludes damages from wind and hail. Especially in states like Texas or Florida, where hail is a common and costly peril, the damage is excluded from typical church insurance coverage. Make sure that you understand what types of damage your church property might be covered for ahead of time, and check that you have the right coverage for your situation. If you do have wind and hail coverage, you will want to review your deductible before deciding how to proceed, as it may be higher than with your other coverage. Keep in mind, too, that many hail insurance policies don’t cover the damage caused by water leaks, only the direct damage from the hail, and it may be necessary to file a separate claim for those losses. The best way to get the answers you need about your coverage is to carefully and regularly review your policy.
- More damage is done while waiting for the insurance claim to resolve. When hail is very severe or affects a large number of properties, it can take a long time to resolve an insurance claim for the damage—sometimes as long as a year or more. In that time, it’s not unusual for additional leaks or problems to arise. If your church property has been damaged, make sure you communicate with the insurance company and are prepared to make any temporary repairs needed to mitigate your losses over several months or longer.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of the potential hang-ups for hail insurance claims, understanding and protecting against these three specific issues can go a long way toward helping you settle your claim fairly and efficiently. If you’d like to learn more about how to avoid potential problems, take a moment to download our free book, Tricks of the Trade.
What to Do If You Don’t Agree With the Insurance Company’s Decision About a Hail Claim
If you aren’t satisfied with how the insurance company is handling your claim, or if your hail insurance claim has become more complex than expected, your first step should be to work with the insurance company if you can. However, if you can’t come to a resolution or get the results you deserve, it’s a good idea to talk about your rights with an attorney who has experience handling policyholder claims and insurance disputes. If you need help, the Voss Law Firm is here for you. To discuss your concerns about a claim, we encourage you to reach out to us today 1-888-614-7730.