Claims for hail damage to roofing, siding and windows are on the rise. If you live in an area where you can get hail large enough to cause damage to your roof, siding or windows, you will want to know how and when to file an insurance claim for damages, as your homeowners insurance may cover the cost of repairs or replacement. If you're not sure whether your home has been damaged by hail, start by examining other objects around your house for signs of damage before calling your insurance company or pulling out your ladder. Hail strong enough to damage a roof may also cause damage to nearby cars, wood fences, shutters, gutters and/or exterior siding. Also a significant amount of shingle granules appearing at the end of downspouts may indicate potential damage; however, granule loss, in and of itself, does not prove hail damage.
- Note the date. If you know for sure that you've recently had a hail storm, note the date. You'll need this date to file a claim. If you didn't take pictures of the hail storm yourself, do an internet search with the name of your city and the keywords, "hail storm." You ought to find a lot of pictures of people showing the size of the hail. Save a few to show the agent.
- Get a qualified opinion. If you suspect you have damage to your roof from a hail storm, get an opinion from a qualified roofing company. Emmons Roofing & Siding specializes in roofing and insurance claims. We will come out and give you a free inspection for roof damage, and we can also meet with your insurance adjuster and act as a liaison between you and your insurance company, to help get you the reimbursement you deserve.
- Filing the claim. This is the easy part. If your roofing company recommends that you call in a claim, just call your insurance company and tell them you want to file a claim for hail damage. They will then request all the pertinent dates and data from you and will probably also ask if you have any interior damage. Also know that in most states you have up to one year to file a claim for damage. Although we don't recommend you wait that long, just make sure you know what the date(s) of the hail storms were. Also, don't worry about how old your roof is because it doesn't matter. The insurance company will look at your claim and settle it if you have damage no matter how old it is. The last thing they want is for your roof to fail (leak) and you put an even larger claim in.
- After the insurance adjuster leaves. If your insurance company has given you a favorable indication about a settlement, the next thing you want to do is make sure you get a written quote from the roofing company(ies) you've been working with. Start thinking about which one you are going to select, and make sure you take into consideration a company's reputation and not just the price or discounted rates they're offering you (see our blog, "How to Choose a Roofing Contractor"). If you had hail damage, then it is likely your neighbors had damage, and you may benefit by recommending a roofer to them (Emmons Roofing & Siding offers a referral award).
- Getting the work done. If your insurance company approves your claim, you will most likely get enough, less your deductible, to complete the work. If it's not enough, your contractor can help you dispute the amount based on the work needed. Don't be alarmed if your insurance company depreciated the amount allocated for repairs because of roof age. They are just holding back some of the money until the work is complete. So, if they hold back $700 for depreciation and the actual cost of work is a little more than they sent you, send them a letter of completion from your contractor with the exact amount when the work is done and they'll send you the difference. And that's it; a new roof for the price of your deductible!