2019 has been plagued with many severe storms often including hail damage leaving many homeowners wondering if their home owner’s policy will cover the damage and what to do next. Though this sort of damage is covered by standard home insurance in most states, coverage is applied in a variety of ways, depending on where you live, your insurer and the provisions of your policy.
How Does Your State Rank for Hail Damage?
Are you living in an area where hail damage is more common? According to a recent nationwide study, Texas, Kansas and Illinois ranked at the top of the list for property damage but other states ie: Oklahoma and Colorado also ranked high based on % of homes affected compared with the actual number of homes. That said, if you’re in a state with 4 seasons and extreme weather trends, you may, at some point, experience hail damage. Most people think of their roof damage but hail can also damage your siding which may need replacing as well.
Filing a Damage Claim
The Insurance Information Institute (III) and insurance companies say policyholders need to file promptly. Filing within one year of when the damage occurred is required by most standard policies. Best to contact your agent or insurance company and ask if there is a time limit and what it is. If you live in an area with rare hail damage issues, your standard policy will most likely include coverage. However, like in flood zones or hurricane areas, if you live where hail is very common, you may need a rider for full coverage.
It’s not a bad idea to call a reputable roofing/siding company to come and assess the damage and give you an idea of what the cost will be to repair or replace the damaged portions of your home. Then figure out that cost – your deductible to determine if it’s really worth your effort to make the claim and possibly having your insurance premiums increase the following year. That said, since weather damage is out of your control, meaning it wasn’t caused by your neglect in any way, raising your rates is not as common. Some states, including Texas which is a high hail damage area, protect homeowners by prohibiting insurance companies for raising rates after only one claim. Take that extra step and check to see what laws may apply in your state.
Though most of us hate to read through our insurance policies (yawn) because of the way the gobbly gook is written, it may be well worth your time to see if wind and hail damage is excluded from your standard policy. If you then deem it valuable, you can purchase a separate rider if available from your insurer or a wind policy offered by your state. As expected, the cost of those options will be higher in a state more commonly affected by these frustrations of nature.
Also, when reviewing your policy, don’t simply peruse. Delve. You may see that your policy provides for hail damage BUT if you look more closely, there might be a stipulation that if they deem the damage to be only cosmetic, it is not covered. This is your money! Know what you’re paying for so in time of need you’re not aggravated that you’ve been paying your sometimes high insurance premiums on time every month year after year only to find out, they will give you nothing. Hail can be devastating but finding out after the fact that your insurance isn’t going to help with the repairs will be even more so!