Has your house suffered from hail damage? Or do you live in an area that is prone to hail storms? How can you get the most out of your home insurance hail damage coverage plan?
According to the Insurance Institute Information, wind and hail damage account for most home insurance claims. The damages incurred due to hail damage can also be extensive, going into several thousand dollars.
Usually, home insurance companies will cover hail damage to your property. However, you might find yourself on the hook for the repairs if you don’t have proper coverage. You might also be liable for the damages if you don’t know what to expect during the process. Therefore, learning how to maximize your home insurance hail damage coverage is important.
Top 10 Tips for Your Home Insurance Hail Damage Coverage
Hail damage is every homeowner’s nightmare. Massive hailstorms can cause extensive damage to your home, which can be costly to repair. However, with the right coverage and a few tips and advice, you can restore your home without incurring a cent. Below are tips to help you get the most out of your home insurance hail damage coverage.
Add Hail Damage to Your Home Insurance Policy
Your insurance claim does not start after a hailstorm has occurred. Instead, you should be prepared well in advance for any eventuality. This means reviewing your home insurance policy to confirm that you are covered for hail damage.
Most standard home insurance policies cover your property against various forms of damage, including due to hailstorms. However, some insurance providers have been known to include some exclusion clauses in their policies, which can leave you without coverage.
One of the most common exclusions is cosmetic damage, for example, if the hail dents your roof but causes no structural damage.
Hail damage might also be excluded from your home insurance policy if you live in an area prone to hailstorms, tsunamis, or tornados. In this case, you might have to purchase an additional home insurance hail damage coverage plan.
Besides exclusions, home insurance policies that offer hail damage coverage might also come with special
insurance deductibles. These deductibles are usually higher than other types of damages, say a fire. Therefore, you might receive an insurance claims payment that only partially covers the damage incurred.
Due to these complexities involved in hail damage coverage, you should thoroughly review your insurance policy in advance. If you are uncertain about anything, make a point of discussing it with your home insurance provider. This way, you can be sure that you are properly covered when damage occurs.
Cover Other Structures in Your Home
During a hailstorm, the damage is not limited to your house. Therefore, you might have to repair other structures, such as detached garages, guest houses, gazebos, swimming pools, etc.
Most home insurance policies will also cover other structures on your property. However, some insurance providers might require you to purchase an “other structures coverage” plan to be covered.
Therefore, it is important to confirm with your home insurance provider that other structures on your property are covered. Additionally, you should ensure that your auto insurance plan covers your car(s), which can also sustain damage during a hailstorm.
Ensure Your Roof Is Properly Installed
To get the most out of your home insurance hail damage cover, you should ensure your roof is properly installed. Insurance providers often come up with several reasons for not paying, and poor craftsmanship is one of them. Therefore, you can be liable for several thousand dollars if your roof is not properly installed.
To avoid this, you should always work with professionals during the initial roof installation stages. For example, if you are installing a metal roof, you should only hire a licensed roof metal decking company to do the work. This way, you will be guaranteed quality work and coverage in the event of hail damage.
Besides your roof, you should also hire experienced and licensed contractors for siding, gutters, and windows, including interior crooked windows. These areas are prone to hail damage, and your claim can be denied due to poor installation.
On top of hiring professionals, you should also keep up to date with the required maintenance and repairs. Neglecting to maintain your home is one of the top insurance mistakes that can cause your claim to be denied.
Use a Reliable Home Insurance Provider
Choosing a reputable insurance provider is another trick for getting proper home insurance hail damage coverage. As already mentioned, hail damage can be extensive and costly. Also, there are many complications that can arise when you are filing for a claim. Therefore, you want an insurance provider who will work with you to restore your property, not against you.
There are many things to consider if you want to make the right pick of a home insurance provider. First, you want a company with a good reputation, especially when it comes to paying out claims. Also, your insurance provider should offer you excellent hail damage coverage for your property without any hidden exclusion clauses.
Affordability is another factor to consider where both premiums and deductibles are concerned. To land a good deal, you should shop around and ask for estimates from several providers. This way, you can find a reliable but affordable insurance broker or agent who offers excellent home coverage.
Get Your Home Inspected After a Hailstorm
You should contact your home insurance provider immediately after a hailstorm if your property has suffered damage. The company will then assign an insurance adjuster to assess the damage and decide on what to cover.
However, one thing you should not know about home insurance hail damage claims is that there might be hidden damages. For example, your roof shingles might sustain hidden damages, which can deteriorate into leaks and structural roof damage. You might find yourself liable for the repair costs if these are overlooked.
Therefore, instead of waiting for an insurance adjustor, you should hire a home inspector or professional contractor to assess the damage to your property. This will help to discover any hidden issues that are not easily visible. Furthermore, it will protect you from being shortchanged by an adjuster acting in bad faith.
Property inspection after a hailstorm is also vital if you live in a rented property. In such cases, the responsibility for fixing the damage lies with the landlord. However, you might be liable for the damages if you don’t report the damage. Therefore, you should have a professional assess your property and inform your rental property managment company of any issues that need fixing.
Document Evidence of the Hail Damage
To get the most out of your home insurance hail damage coverage, you must present a strong case to your insurance provider. This means gathering and documenting all the evidence of the damage to your property.
A comprehensive report prepared by your home inspector or a professional contractor is a good place to start. You can also include pictures and videos of the damage to the roof, windows, gutters, doors, sidings, and other parts of your home.
You should also present records of any work done to the property before the hail damage. These include repairs, maintenance, and upgrades — and any billing statements and invoices. These documents will help bolster your claim while providing a cost estimate of the damages.
Get an Estimate of the Repairs
Home insurance providers are business entities and usually try to make a profit by paying the bare minimum. Therefore, you might find yourself on the receiving end of a lowball offer from an insurance adjuster. Unfortunately, you might fall into the trap of accepting it if you don’t know the extent of the damage.
Therefore, you should obtain a roof estimate in addition to appraisals for any other damages incurred. You can even get several estimates to give you a better idea of the total cost of the damages. Then, you can present these estimates to your insurance adjuster as evidence to support your compensation.
Of course, even with estimates, it is still possible to receive a lowball offer. Therefore, you should be prepared to negotiate with your home insurance provider when making a claim, a process that can be quite complex. You can even hire professionals, such as an independent insurance adjuster, to evaluate your damages separately. Finally, if all else fails, you can bring in an insurance attorney to assist with the compensation.
Prevent Further Damage to Your Home
Another tip for getting the most out of your home insurance hail damage cover is to start the clean-up and fixing as soon as possible. More often than not, an insurance adjuster will take time to assess your property. It can thus be very inconvenient if you wait until they arrive to start cleaning up your home.
Furthermore, the longer you wait to start fixing your home, the more damage you can incur. Some of the additional damage might not even be covered by your policy, for example, mold damage. Therefore, you might have to pay more than is necessary.
So, immediately after a hailstorm, you should take various proactive measures, such as drying any water in your home. You can also board up broken windows, doors, and roof shingles or place water-proof tarps over any holes. However, before you do all this, you should thoroughly document any evidence of hail damage.
As a precaution, you should avoid hiring any contractor for repairs until you have the go-ahead from your insurance company. Some home insurance providers might require that you work with specific pre-approved contractors. Therefore, you might find yourself with a denied claim if you hire a non-approved local roofer to fix up your roof.
Work With Licensed and Skilled Contractors
When it is time to start repairs on your property, you will have to choose contractors to do the work. As already mentioned, some home insurance companies will have their preferred pick of contractors. However, other insurance providers will allow you to pick your contractors.
You should only use licensed contractors to get the most out of your home insurance hail damage coverage. For example, in case of roof damage, you should hire a reputable flatfoot reconstruction company to restore your property. Doing this will guarantee you quality work and protect you if you have to make more claims in the future.
Another mistake to avoid when hiring contractors is working with
storm chasers. These contractors often show up in towns after hail storms, offering cheap roof repair services. Unfortunately, they also have a reputation for providing shoddy services or scamming homeowners. To avoid this, you should hire a reputable hail damage roofer from your area instead.
Plan For More Repairs and Home Improvements
Hail damage is a misfortune that no homeowner wants to experience. However, when it occurs, you can take the opportunity to make some additional repairs to your property. For example, if your house has interior crooked windows, you can schedule to have them fixed alongside other damages incurred during hail storms.
You can also schedule home improvement projects to coincide with your hail damage repairs. For example, you can have your contractors install vented roof systems when repairing the roof. These can offer additional benefits such as increased ventilation, reduced energy bills, and increased roof life expectancy.
Other upgrades and improvements you can schedule include painting the exterior walls, adding insulation, replacing the doors, etc. You can also make upgrades that help protect your home from future hail damage, for example, installing custom shutters on your windows.
Of course, your home insurance company will not cover any additional repairs, upgrades, and improvements you make. However, making them during the hail damage repairs will be more convenient and cheaper. In addition, some upgrades, such as custom shutter, can even help lower your home insurance premiums, making them worth the extra cost.
Hail damage can cause extensive and expensive damage to your property, leaving you in a situation that’s every homeowner’s nightmare. However, with a good home insurance hail damage cover, you can be protected from the damages incurred. The above tips and tricks can help you get the most out of your coverage. As a result, you can restore your property to its pristine condition.