Home insurance companies would have different grounds for raising premiums. Depending on many factors that can include your location, inflation rate, and your credit score, your insurer may require you to pay higher rates for you to remain covered against well-defined perils. But whatever the situation is, understanding what your policy provides will determine your course of action and guide you whether filing a claim would be practical or not.
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What locations are prone to hail damage?
Along with covered perils listed on your policy, hailstorms can be one of the most damaging. In a study conducted by Arindam Samanta and Ting Wu entitled “Hail: The Hidden Risk” An Analysis of Property Exposure to Damaging Hail in 2017 (reported by Verisk), more than 10.7 million properties in the U.S. were affected by one or more instances of hail damage by the time the study was conducted. Among 10 states listed, Texas, Illinois, and Missouri make it to the top with more than 3 million affected properties. Minnesota, Oklahoma, Kansas, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado follow with 400,000 affected homes each on the average.
In the same report, it was stated that the pattern by which hailstorms occur, or its severity is very erratic, thus predicting for a future loss will be very difficult.
What is the significance of the study?
Hail: The Hidden Risk report offers detailed information that home insurance companies can utilize in underwriting properties. It provides a 5-year data on the trend and extent of property damage caused by hail in areas where hailstorms occur the most. But to the average homeowner, the study is about whether your location is prone to having more hail damage as compared to other regions. In practical terms, the report undermines the risks that your location inherently possess.
Do you get higher rates after a hail damage claim?
Not necessarily! Different insurance companies still vary in the scope of coverage and premiums despite having similar circumstances. But if you are located in one of the 10 states mentioned and you’ve already filed a claim, your case could be different. If you’re filing for hail damage for the first time, it’s unlikely that your insurer will require you to pay a higher rate. But if you’re filing for the same reason the second time around, or you’ve filed multiple claims in a span of 3 years or less, you are likely to pay higher premiums to keep your policy.
If you decide to file a claim for hail damage or any covered reason, your deductible will be a major determining factor. When your claim is just about the same price as your deductible, then filing is definitely not a wise decision. In certain instances, spending from your own pocket can outweigh the chances of your insurer increasing your premium and even canceling your policy.
What to do after a hailstorm?
Hail damage, like wind damage, is a natural phenomenon. While most insurance companies cover such peril, your promptness in filing a claim certainly matters. Insurers generally require homeowners to file a claim within a period of 12 months. The time element is vital because roof damage caused by hail can have more profound effects when left unchecked. Although the damage may just be superficial at a glance, corrosion and water seepage can pose bigger issues later.
Whether you have a readily available means of checking your roof after a hailstorm, or you would need a contractor to do it for you, the timing will be essential. If there are damages, a thorough and prompt assessment of the cost will allow you to act promptly and avoid any subsequent issues. As in any case, insurers will not cover any claim where there is a clear element of negligence.