Hail is a weather phenomenon that can occur during thunderstorms, wherein frozen rain falls from the sky, oftentimes in golf ball (or larger!) sized pieces of ice. Hail has the ability to cause potentially severe damage to property and can even sometimes cause injury.
Review Your Home’s Insurance Policy
The areas of your home most susceptible to hail damage tend to be the roof, windows, and siding. Hail can also make way for wind or other damage by way of broken windows or damaged roofs. It’s important to ensure that your homeowner’s insurance policy has specific coverage for the most vulnerable parts of your home.
Additionally, be extra vigilant if you live in an area especially prone to hailstorms. In the U.S., the states that most commonly deal with hail are Texas, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, and Oklahoma.
Common Types of Hail Damage Coverage
The most common types of specific hail damage coverage are in relation to roofs, siding, and “other structures”, which includes detached construction like sheds and pools that could also get damaged. Roof coverage can vary, from covering only the actual cash value (ACV) of your roof at the time of damage, to covering the entirety of the replacement cost. Siding coverage can also range, from replacing damaged siding with a potentially mismatched finish to matching siding coverage that ensures any replaced siding matches the original color of your home. Be sure to review your insurance policy to determine what you have covered (and what you don’t!).
Assess the Damage and Create an Inventory
One of the first steps to take after your home is damaged by hail is to evaluate the damage to your home. Take note of exactly what was damaged, and be sure to take detailed pictures of everything that may need repairs. Reach out to local contractors to get a quote for how much it would cost to repair each item. If the estimated total is higher than your insurance deductible, then you can begin the process of filing a claim.
Sometimes, your insurance company’s settlement will be less than what you may have hoped for. In this case, it is often wise to hire a public insurance adjuster to fight for you and help bring you a better settlement. Public adjusters will handle your claim and do their own assessment of the damages, which is usually a higher estimate than would be given by the insurance company’s in-house adjuster. The public adjuster then negotiates with your insurance company to try and secure a higher settlement amount for you.
Evaluate Your Home Insurance Coverage Limits
In certain regions, your home insurance policy may have limitations or exclusions that apply specifically to hail damage. In these cases homeowners typically have to pay for a separate hail or windstorm policy altogether. Sometimes it comes as an endorsement to your existing home insurance. In certain other areas, you may be eligible for hail coverage under your state’s FAIR (Fair Access to Insurance Requirements) or Beach plan, so be sure to check all your options when looking for hail coverage.
Many homeowners insurance policies nowadays have begun excluding cosmetic damage coverage from their plans. In the context of such policies, if the hail damage is purely superficial and only impacts the visual appearance of the house without compromising its functionality, then the insurer will not provide coverage in the event of a claim.
How to Prevent Hail Damage to Your Home
There are numerous steps that can be taken to reduce the damage to your home in the event of a hailstorm. One such strategy is to install reinforced shingles on the roof of your home. This will help to protect the most hail-vulnerable part of a house, and even save you money in the short term, as some insurance policies offer premium discounts to those who have reinforced roofs. Fiber-cement siding and impact-rated skylights will also go a long way in keeping your home protected from hail.