Frequently Asked Questions About Hail Insurance Claims
In our FAQ, you can see clear and helpful answers to a number of common questions about hail insurance claims and what to do in the aftermath of a serious storm. If you have questions about your insurance coverage for hail-related property damage, or if you are having trouble resolving an insurance claim, you can get fast and experienced help by calling the Voss Law Firm at 1-888-614-7730.
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Will the insurance company cover both roof and water damage caused by hail?
Many homes, businesses, and cars suffer damage when a tornado or serious storm produces large hail. Windows can break, holes can be punched in roofs, and other parts of a home or property can be damaged. After the storm, it may seem obvious to you that your roof leaked because hail punctured it and caused water to pour into the house. And it probably seems illogical that the insurance company has denied all or part of your claim and won’t pay for the water damage that resulted from the hailstorm—even though it did cover the direct hail damage.
However, as illogical as it may seem, it’s still a common issue that policyholders can run into with their insurance claims after severe hail. Here are some things you should understand about the potential insurance coverage of different types of hail-related roof damage, especially when there is accompanying water damage.
Insurance Coverage of Roof Damage From Hail
The roof is usually the first thing that policyholders check after a hailstorm, and roof claims are one of the most common types of hail insurance claims that are submitted. While hail damage to roofs is covered in many policies, the coverage may be more complex than you think—and there can be a surprising number of problems that come up in claims for roof damage.
Even if roof damage is covered in your insurance policy, the insurance company may not be willing to pay for a new roof. Even in cases where it seems like replacement is the only option, the insurance company may still argue that it will only pay the costs to repair portions of the existing roofing. Underpayments of claims are common, and some policyholders are dismayed to find out their claims have been denied entirely—sometimes for seemingly no reason at all. But that’s only part of the problem when leaks are also an issue.
Insurance Coverage of Leaks and Water Damage From Hail
When water damage is caused by a roof leak, it may not be covered by the same policy that covered the hail damage that created the leak. Depending on the details of your insurance policy, water damage may be covered under a different section of your existing policy or even under your flood policy. This can come as a big surprise to policyholders who hope to get all their damage covered quickly after a hailstorm, and it can create painful delays or denials if not handled correctly.
It can also be very tricky to find some of the potential causes of roof leaks during the initial assessment of damage. Depending on the size of the hail, the type of roofing, and other factors, small cracks, tears, and punctures can be hard to see. Additionally, when entire regions are affected by the same hailstorm, assessments and estimates can be rushed or superficial. By the time a leak is later discovered, the damage can be very advanced—and so can the headaches with your insurance coverage.
Why the Insurance Company Denies Claims for Hail Damage and Related Leaks
Even if you get a thorough assessment and understand the different ways hail can damage your property, there is a chance that insurance company will still unfairly deny, delay, or underpay your claim. To avoid paying the full cost of your claim, the insurance company may try to tell you that:
- The initial damage or leak resulted from your poor roof maintenance.
- Your damage isn’t fully covered or isn’t covered the way you thought it was.
- Needed replacements, updates, and repairs won’t be paid for.
Unfortunately, insurance companies tend to try to get away with paying as little money out on insurance claims as possible. They know that the majority of homeowners do not fight them, challenge their offer, or appeal their decision because they generally do not know how much their insurance claims should be worth or how much they are entitled to.
If you feel like the insurer is not coming through for you, is participating in “bad faith” practices, or is lowballing you, you should talk with an experienced insurance claim lawyer to find out what your claim is worth and how to get what you deserve. Get help today by calling the Voss Law Firm at 1-888-614-7730 or requesting a free copy of our book, Tricks of the Trade: How Insurance Companies Deny, Delay, Confuse & Refuse.
When should I start repairs after a hail storm?
After a severe hail storm, cleaning up and making repairs may be your first priority. However, it’s not always a good idea to start fixing up the damage right away. When you should start making repairs may depend on your answers to the following kinds of questions:
- Will you be submitting an insurance claim for the hail damage? If you will be submitting an insurance claim, realize that the adjusters will want to see the damage for themselves, and you may need to contact a professional to help you conduct a damage assessment of your own.
- Does the damage pose a safety risk or potential for further loss? If the damages to your property could hurt someone or cause further damage, some repairs may be necessary for safety and to prevent a bigger or more costly problem.
- Has the hail damage been thoroughly documented and assessed? You will want to have your own informal photographs of damage, as well as any other professional assessments that are required for recovery documentation. If the damage hasn’t been documented before repairs start, it can be extremely difficult to go back later and prove that your property was affected in the storm.
So, before you start repairs, make sure you know what to expect. If your damages are very severe, or if you plan to file a significant insurance claim, it’s important that you take the steps to do make repairs the right way and on a reasonable timeline.
To Repair or Not to Repair Before Filing Your Hail Insurance Claim
If you find yourself wondering whether or not to make repairs, here are some things you can do to help you protect your property and your insurance claim:
- Temporary repairs. If needed, you can make temporary repairs on your property. Make repairs that are just sufficient to protect your property immediately against theft and further damage. Your goal is to make your property habitable. Make sure that broken windows and damaged rooftops are covered properly. Use plywood, tarps, or other materials to cover broken windows and damaged rooftops, and keep the receipts of any materials or services that you purchase to make these repairs.
- Consult your insurance agent. Major repairs should ideally be funded or financed by your insurance proceeds. To be on the safe side, it would be best to consult your insurance agent and inform him or her before you make any temporary repairs. This will help you avoid a situation where the insurance company denies your claim due to the repairs you undertook.
- Keep proof before repairing. Before making your temporary repairs, or before you even clean up, make sure to have sufficient documentation of the damage on your property. Take pictures of the damage both inside and outside your home. These pieces of evidence will come in handy when the insurance adjuster arrives to inspect your home, which can occur long after you have completed your temporary repairs.
- Consult professionals. The most important thing that property owners can do after a strong hailstorm is to call in a professional to inspect their roofs. While some dings are easily noticed, some dimples and damage can be easily missed. When a professional looks at a roof, he or she can tell if there was damage to the protective layer of granules, shingles, and more. Generally, you are free to select any contractor you wish. It is usually best to select one who has operated in the area for several years, is insured and bonded, and will give you a written guarantee for the work performed. Make sure the roofers or contractors have liability insurance, or else you could end up liable if they get injured on your property.
- Keep proof after repairing. If you make temporary repairs on your property, make sure to keep receipts for the materials, labor, and other services that you purchased to undertake the repairs. Most likely, your insurance adjuster will go over these supporting documents to determine whether or not these expenses are covered by your insurance policy and are reimbursable. It can also be helpful to have photos of the new repairs soon after they were completed.
- Temporary relocation. In some instances, the damage to your property may be so severe—and the repairs and restoration would be so major—that you and your family would need to move out temporarily. In such a case, you need to find an alternative accommodations. Make sure to keep receipts and other records of the additional expenses you incur because of this temporary relocation. These added expenses can fall under the “loss of use” provision which is commonly found in homeowners insurance policies.
- Appeal or dispute resolution. If you encounter problems with your insurance claim because of temporary repairs done on your property, do not simply give up. You can go through your insurance policy’s appeal or dispute procedure. You can engage the services of a public adjuster or an insurance claims lawyer to assist you in this process.
Keep in mind, too, that you may not be able to collect damages from your insurance claim immediately. Policyholders are often surprised that their seemingly straightforward insurance claims are delayed or denied, and it may be necessary to prioritize which repairs will be addressed with limited funds while you work toward a resolution.
If you have any question about whether or not you should make repairs after a storm, it is highly recommended that you consult with a legal team that has the relevant experience needed to review your policies, document the extent of the damage, and hasten the claims process. For more information, contact the Voss Law Firm today at 1-888-614-7730.
The Voss Law Firm, P.C. represents clients on a local, national and international basis. We proudly serve companies and individuals along the Gulf Coast and around the globe on a contingency fee basis. Our law firm collects nothing unless we recover on our client's behalf.