Article by: Andrew Rombach
The Importance of Insurance
Buying a home is probably one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, which means it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your home. One step is making sure you have homeowners insurance.
There are plenty of options out there as well as plenty of details to understand. There can be limitations for what is and isn’t covered. For example, sometimes people aren’t covered for things like burst water pipes, earthquakes, flooding, mold, and termites. If you don’t know your policy limitations, then any of the previously mentioned issues could seriously cost you.
Before disaster strikes, you’ll want to know what is covered in your homeowners insurance policy. It pays to run through every potential disaster scenario and peril. So we ask the question: does homeowners insurance cover hail damage?
Is Hail Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
Most of the time, the answer is yes, hail damage is covered by homeowners insurance providers. According to Zillow, hail (and wind) damage is actually one of the most common claims filed by homeowners. In fact, hail storms occur every 7 to 9 days. Hail damage can happen as a result of heavy storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, or just an out-of-the-blue hailstorm.
Some geographical areas are more susceptible to hail than others. For example, 1.3 million properties in Texas experienced hail damaged in 2017. Following closely behind were Illinois and Missouri with over 800,000 properties damaged by hail in each state. It’s important to check your coverage if you live in these areas. Some home insurance policies do not automatically cover hail damage in high-frequency areas.
Even if you don’t live in Texas, hailstorms can happen without warning all over the country. It is important to make sure you’re officially covered well before incurring damage. It may not have to do with your location either. For instance, your insurance policy may not cover hail damage if it’s only cosmetic damage without any structural or functional problems. These are the details you need to read up on.
As a separate note, renters insurance will offer basic coverage for weather damage such as hail. You may wonder why renters would help you. It’s relatively cheap, so adding a renters policy to cover home damage isn’t too far off. Furthermore, if you are renting out a place, requiring tenants to get renters insurance could supplement your homeowners insurance policy and offer additional coverage.
How to Check For Hail Damage & File a Claim
If you want to file a claim for hail damage, then you first need to know if your house has ever received hail damage. You will need to document the damage as well before filing a claim.
Finding damage isn’t as simple as checking around after a hailstorm. Before any storms strike, check your roof and take pictures as proof of what it looked like before. This is actually a good rule of thumb regarding any part of your home that may be damaged.
After a hailstorm comes through, go back and check the roof and siding for damage.
It may be a good idea to hire a professional
roofing contractor to assess the damage. This person may have more knowledge of what to look for, the extent of the damage, and how much it will cost to repair. Some contractors may provide this service for free in hopes that you’ll hire them to fix the damage.
If you’d rather avoid dealing with a contractor, you should use WeatherCheck. Just type in your address to find out if your home experienced any hail damage within the last year. You can also sign up for free to be notified when a hailstorm does hit your home. The website will suggest whether you should inspect your home for potential damage or whether you should file a claim.
However you check, take after photos of the damage to compare with the before photos. With this evidence, reach out to your insurance company to file a claim. They will ask you a few questions such as when the storm happened. Once you have your claim number, an insurance adjuster will set up an appointment to come inspect the damage.
When filing a claim, keep in mind that you will have to pay your homeowners insurance deductible prior to being reimbursed for the storm damage. And the most important thing to remember is you need to file within a year of the damage, otherwise insurance won’t cover it.
Hail damage can be severe—after all, it’s chunks of ice (ranging from very small to baseball size) pelting down from the sky. Knowing how to prepare, what to look for, and how to file a claim will help ease the burden of dealing with hail damage.