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Hail Damage Claims On The Rise

Posted by Joe Brennan | Posted in Homeowners Insurance, Insurance Advice, Insurance Claims Help | Posted on 07-13-2012

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hail damage to houseHail Season Is Upon Us

 
Hail season has prompted Rick Richards, writer for Consumer Insurance Guide, to write a story about hailstorms and hailstorm coverage. Joe Brennan of Insurance Claims Group was one of three he interviewed for the story.
 
Parts of the full article is below.  As always feel free to add comments or ask questions in our insurance advice forum.
 

There is no getting around hail. It hits someplace – usually several places – every year in the United States, says Joe Brennan, owner of Insurance Claims Group Inc. in Cary, N.C.

 
For homeowners, hail is unavoidable. “Most all policies cover hail,” Brennan says. “There is no worry about not being covered.  Hail is a sudden event we can’t control.  That exactly what insurance is meant for – sudden events.”
 
Brennan says hail coverage is different than hurricane coverage. Hurricanes are more predictable. “In Florida, you may have to buy an endorsement for wind coverage depending on where you live. Because hurricanes routinely strike Florida, many insurance companies won’t include wind damage from hurricanes in their homeowner’s policies.”

“Hail is much less predictable and can hit anywhere, which is why it is part of  basic coverage in nearly all homeowners insurance policies, says Brennan. 

Hail Coverage Deductible

What about deductibles?  Does a deductible affect your coverage? “Absolutely, you need to secure a manageable deductible.  Too many people buy insurance and lower their premiums by requesting or accepting a higher deductible. However, if your deductible is $1,000 and you don’t have $1,000 in the bank, then your deductible is too high,” says Brennan. While some policies offer a deductible that’s a percentage of the damage, Brennan doesn’t recommend it. “If you have $250,000 in coverage, with a 2.5% deductible – then you have a hail damage claim for $25,000, you’d have $6,250 out of pocket to meet the deductible.  In the long run, that high of a deductible doesn’t really save you all that much money on premium payments either.”

Anyone whose property is struck by hail needs to have professionals check to make sure there is damage. Not all hail storms cause damage, Brennan says.  Pea sized hail (1/4 of an inch) or marble-sized hail (1/2 inch) might not cause damage. Anything larger, say a dime or a quarter (3/4 to one inch) can cause serious damage. Golf ball sized hail is 1 ¾ inches and softball-sized hail is 4 ½ inches according to NOAA.  To put this in perspective, hail has to grow to the size of a hen’s egg to dent a car and hail that is half the size of a baseball can kill birds and animals.

Brennan says roof damage from small sized hail is the most difficult to detect because it may be two or three years before the homeowners begins to notice leaks or issues with their roof from prior hailstorms. That discovery sometimes may not come until well after the time period in which the policyholder has to file a claim.

Hail Damage Inspections

“Have a professional roofer come by to take a look at your roof.  It’s important to know if you have hail damage now and report your claim, because it’s not the damage done today that matters,” Brennan says.  “The hail removes granules that protect the backing from becoming dried-out by the sun.  When the baking dries out the shingle becomes brittle and will crack and split over time allowing water entry from other storms,” Brennan includes.

One way to check is to look if there is an inordinate amount of aggregate from the shingles in the gutters.

“Before anyone goes up on your roof, find out what their inspection includes. The inspector should make a drawing of the roof with ‘X’ marks or circles showing hail damage and they should provide you with photographs you can submit to your insurance company.  This way you have evidence of your damages,” Brennan says.

“Homeowners also should check window ledges for damage and siding. In larger hail events vinyl siding, Brennan says, will have holes while damage to wood siding isn’t as noticeable.  If there are nicks in wood siding it can cause splitting, which will lead to leaks.”

Brennan, of Insurance Claims Group, says that after a storm homeowners need to make sure they do a thorough inspection of their property. After the roof inspection make sure to check gutters, windows, window screens, siding and even the garage, tool shed, fences, the swimming pool and any other outdoor structures.

“People should not give up their right to claim damages they suffered. You’ve paid for protection so if the 30-year shingles you put on your roof four years ago are damaged and need to be replaced, that’s 25 years of life from the shingles that you paid for and didn’t get. That’s why you have insurance and why you should file a claim,” Brennan says.

This hail article was originally published by Consumer Insurance Guide

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(C) Joe Brennan is President and owner/operator of Insurance Claims Group, Inc., a national independent adjusting, appraisal, and umpiring firm. We will answer your claim questions FREE as part of our FREE Insurance Advice and Insurance Claim Consulting Services.

Insurance Claims Group, Inc.
Joe Brennan
Ph: 919-669-9111
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