Texas gets more hail storms than any other state.
In fact, 40% of all homeowner claims in Texas are related to hail damage. According to the National Weather Service, hail storms in Texas cause up to $1 billion worth of damage to crops and property annually (as cited in the Allstate Blog–blog.allstate.com).
Hail damage is obvious when it knocks off shingles, but sometimes the damage is not as noticeable. If you suspect hail damage to your home or roof, you should inspect your property carefully for damage before filing a claim. Look for dents or cracks in your windows, screens, roof, and even your patio furniture. Check trees and shrubs for damage also. If they are stripped of foliage, this could suggest that there is damage to your roof.
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After a storm blows through central Texas, clients frequently call my agency asking to file a roof claim because they suspect hail damage to their roof, especially if their neighbors are filing claims and getting their roofs repaired or replaced. Hail and wind storms, like tornados, do not hit and damage every house and roof the same way in a neighborhood. There can be hail damage on one roof and not another on the same street.
It’s best to not file a claim until you are certain there is damage caused by hail…
and the cost to repair or replace your roof is more than your deductible. If you suspect hail damage, call a reputable roofer, preferably one who is knowledgeable about insurance claims, to come and check your roof to confirm hail damage and give you an estimate. If a reputable roofer gives you an estimate to repair your roof that is less than your deductible, do not file a claim.
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Typically, a homeowner’s deductible is 1% of dwelling coverage. So if your house is insured for $300,000, and you have a 1% deductible, your deductible would be $3,000. If the cost of the damage to your roof is over your deductible, file a claim. If the cost of the damage is less than your deductible, it will not benefit you to file a claim. Your insurance company is not going to cover anything less than your deductible, but the claim will still show on your insurance record and could affected your rates and claim-free discounts.
Don’t trust an “ambulance chasing roofer”
Ambulance-chasing roofers go from door-to-door in a neighborhood telling all homeowners that their roof has hail damage. The “2009 Questionable Claims Comparison Report” reported that between 2008 and 2009, the number of reported faulty insurance claims about roof damage caused by hail increased by 202%, and based on my personal experience, I suspect it’s continued to increase. If an insurance adjuster determines your roof needs to be replaced due to normal deterioration, your claim will be denied.
If your roof is leaking after a storm, it is your responsibility as the homeowner to stop the damage until an adjuster can get to your house. Cover any damaged areas like windows and holes to prevent further damage. You must also remember that when there are devastating storms that affect a lot of areas, and a lot of homes, it may take awhile for your insurance to be able to send an adjuster.
Take pictures of the damage as soon as possible, especially if you need to make some of your own repairs before the adjuster comes to your home, so that they can properly assess the damage. Keep receipts, as these expenses will go towards your deductible. You can hire whatever company you want to repair the damage to your roof, or any damage to your home for that matter. At my company, if a client asks for a recommendation, we will give them several roofing companies in the area to call, so that they can get multiple estimates. It’s always best to get several estimates.
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If a contractor tells you that you will not have to pay your deductible, be very leery of doing business with that person, because in order for you to not have to pay your deductible, the contractor will have to falsify receipts to your insurance company, which is against the law. If your contractor is willing to break the law and face criminal charges, he might also be willing to cut corners on your roof repair.
If you have questions about hail damage, give me a call! I’ll be happy to help.