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:
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.
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.
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.