The elements can be unpredictable. Wild winds and harsh hail can spring upon you at nearly any point in time, and protecting your most valuable assets can make a huge difference for your family and livelihood. However, insurance claims for property damages can be quite complicated and confusing. It can be tough to figure out, especially with all the information that exists online or spreads by word of mouth based on personal motives or specific situations. So we’ve outlined all of the most important things you need to know about insurance claims involving wind and hailstorm damages.
Insurance Claims & Wind Damage
While the air that we breathe is lovely, huge gusts of it can cause serious damage. Strong wind can cause trees branches to fall on your home’s roof or prompt debris to fly up and hit parts of your house. Your roof is incredibly susceptible to this and many roof repairs that are needed are a result of wind.
• It can be expensive to fix damage caused by wind out of pocket, but luckily there’s insurance to help ease your burden. Understanding everything about your insurance claim is crucial for collecting every dollar you’re entitled to. When trying to understand wind damage coverage, here are some important things to know:
• If a widespread disaster occurs in your area, such as hurricanes that destroy a whole town, the cost of claim representation can increase making coverage and claim resolutions more difficult.
• The variances between what it means in your insurance policy to be covered for wind damage and flood damage can complicate the claims and recovery process of your home and other properties.
• When all else fails and you can’t seem to get your head around your insurance policy, you consider hiring a personal claims adjuster. They are there to work for you and your family, not the insurance company.
• Most insurance policies call for higher deductibles for wind and hail damage insurance claims, as compared to other types of claims. Some areas have even barred wind damage coverage from their policies, as described below.
Important Information About Wind Damage And Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy
• The most important thing for you to know is that many insurance policies will cover your wind damage, should it occur to your home or other piece of insured property. In most instances, the damage will occur due to a storm, which is one of the main risks to your home in general. Thus, your insurer should be able to cover any damage caused by excessive wind. So there is a good chance you are covered, but it’s not always quite that simple.
• Fun fact: floods and earthquakes aren’t typically covered by standard insurance policies and require special coverage for protection against those natural events.
• Know your insurance policy coverage and read the insurance policy clauses carefully. Your insurance policy might have something called the anti-concurrent causation clause in it. This pretty much means that if two natural disasters, such as wind and hail, occur at the same time and the property owner only has coverage for one type of disaster, the insurer will not cover your damage.
• So, if a storm occurs in your town and you find that your roof has been completely blown off and, in addition, there was an earthquake that disrupted the foundation of your home, your insurer could refuse to cover the damages as earthquakes weren’t included in your policy. This can lead to a tough situation should it happen, but the possibility of two disasters occurring simultaneously is unlikely (unless you’re in a hurricane-prone area, where wind and flooding are a likely possibility). It’s up to you as the homeowner to decide on what insurance coverage is best for you, but it is advised to imagine all possible outcomes.
• Your insurer will typically pay for the cheapest solution. If your policy states that the insurer must repair or replace the roof, for example, then they will go the route of the least expensive option. The logistics of the insurance company will likely come first and this can lead to a few problems for you.
• For example, many roof shingles discolor with age. If your roof becomes damaged and requires a new section, it can lead to aesthetic disturbances because the old shingles don’t match the new. And as great as it would be to get a completely new roof, it’s expensive and probably won’t happen, so most insurance companies will try to find the middle ground between repair and cosmetic appearance.
• You might not get wind coverage if you live in windy places. As mentioned, while most insurers will cover wind damage, this isn’t true if you live in particularly windy places of the United States. People living in the windiest cities in the U.S., right here in Texas, for instance, might need to pay extra to get wind damage coverage in their insurance policy. This can also be common if you live in states like Iowa, Nebraska, or Kansas.
• Or, it could be worse. Your insurer might refuse to cover wind damage and you’ll have to buy insurance from a special association. This is especially true in coastal regions where strong wind activity can pick up quickly at times. Therefore, review your insurance policy again to make sure you understand your wind damage coverage.
• Get experienced wind damage repair contractors and try to find ones that are local. If you live in, say, Florida, then you’ll likely have many local contractors around to repair wind damage since the entire state is fairly prone to wind damage from hurricanes. But, let’s say you’re in an area that isn’t particularly prone to wind damage like Georgia. If your roof is damaged during the last storm, contractors from across the state could come to your region to profit from the insurance claims. However, they might not provide the best service as they’re not used to damage in that area. Therefore, choose a qualified company that can take care of your needs and knows the extent of wind damage in your area.
Getting the best compensation for wind damage can mean the difference between settling for a horrible roof or continuing to live in your house comfortably. Understanding the nuances of your insurance policies is something that you should take time fore before a disaster happens. Take the time to review your hazard, windstorm and wind damage coverage in your insurance policy. If you need help with a wind damage insurance claim contact a public claims adjuster.
Dealing With Hail Damage Insurance Claims
Wind and hail often go hand in hand, but the coverage in terms of describing both in the eyes of your insurance company is quite different. If you are a homeowner it’s important to understand hailstorm damages, how to deal with them and what is covered in your homeowner’s insurance policy.
• Hailstorms can be quite unpredictable. Like all weather they can vary greatly in their severity from year to year as well as from one geographical location to another. For example, Texas had a particularly bad year in 2016 for homeowner hail damage insurance claims with hail losses totaling over 5 billion dollars, which was more than double any previous year.
• The ability to sufficiently assess damages and cover the cost of repairs from hail damage is difficult because severity and situations can vary greatly. Most hail damage isn’t that bad when compared to other natural disasters like wind, flooding, or earthquakes, and can often result in only cosmetic damage such as dents on a home’s metal roof, but hail can still cause quite a lot damage to your home. This is especially true in certain states like Texas, the state with the most insurance claims for hailstorm damages year after year.
• If your home is in a hailstorm with any amount of sizable hail then it is important to have it professionally inspected by someone who knows roofing systems and is specifically experienced with hail damage. From a distance your roof may appear to be totally fine, but without having it thoroughly inspected by someone with hailstorm damage and it’s affects on roofing systems you can’t be sure. Many roofing contractors and roofing companies may be great at installing and repairing roofs, but they might not have the expertise needed for inspecting and assessing potential damage cause by hail.
So, if a hailstorm causes damage to your property and you want to take action, here are some helpful tips:
• After the damage occurs, immediately call up your insurance company and a local contractor. This is especially important if a large area of where you live was affected, such as your whole city and surrounding cities. Almost all insurance companies and contractors work on a first-come, first-served basis so making calls as quickly as possible can be crucial.
• However, as with wind damage claims, don’t sign up for the first company that comes to you after a major storm. Storm chasing contractors will show up at your house, promise you incredible rates and results, then may provide subpar work that isn’t noticeable until a few years down the line or until after they have skipped town. So, don’t let yourself become the target of predatory contractors, as they won’t provide the best performance compared to local, long-term contractors.
• Once you’ve found a contractor and talked with your insurance company, meet with them to discuss this claim. Often, when a large geographic area was affected by hail damage, insurance companies may deploy insurance adjusters from different parts of the country. By meeting in person with your adjuster, it’s easier to voice complaints and issues then and there as opposed to over the phone when you may not have their full attention.
• Have a copy of your homeowner’s insurance policy handy and go over the coverage you purchased. When you file a claim, have the policy near you so that you are able to refer to it when needed.
• Don’t readily accept the first offer your insurance company gives you, as it likely won’t fully cover all the work and repairs needed, or properly compensate improvements you’ve made to your home. If you find that the amount your insurance adjuster gives you is not what coincides with the repairs that need to be done to your house, you should contact an independent loss adjuster to help with your insurance claim
• Don’t feel forced to use the contractor your insurance company recommends. It’s more common than not that their motivation is to work as cheaply as possible, taking shortcuts or using subpar materials. When you hire a contractor on your own, you can gain more assurance that they will serve you and your needs only, not the needs of your insurance company.
Wind and hail are strong forces of nature and can happen when you least expect it – leading to property damages that you’ll need insurance compensation to help repair. With a little preparation and knowledge of how insurance claims work, you can speedily move along with your home repairs and avoid dealing with several weeks of a damaged and leaking roofing system, or other undesirable circumstances.