Most don’t often have to worry about having to file claims for hail or storm damage in their areas. The most vulnerable states for hail-related damaged according to studies are Texas, Kansas, Illinois, and Missouri with Texas seeing well over 1 million in property/home damage, Illinois coming in at 900,000, Missouri approximately 800,000, and Kansas with about 250,000 but they saw more home damage. In these particular areas, they may have restrictions implemented on their homeowners insurance policies for the damage that hail storms leave behind.
It may not be something that you see predominantly in your area, but it is something that you should definitely be prepared for. The damage to your home and property can be significant, and the first step you need to take after experiencing this type of peril is to call a contractor to assess what type of damage you have incurred prior to you making the call to your insurance carrier.
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Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Hail Damage?
In most homeowners standard policies, hail is a covered peril with the plan for your dwelling. Where hailstorms are more prevalent, though, insurers tend more to restrict the homeowners policies for hail coverage or they will elevate the cost of the plans to show the need for the higher risk. For folks who live in the areas where they see frequent hail, it’s a good idea to go over your coverage with your agent to see what limitations are imposed on the plans.
For these particular states, restrictions may show you as having a higher deductible for hail storms specifically or you may see that cosmetic coverage is excluded with your plan. In that instance, any type of cosmetic damage done by the hailstorm would not be covered and you would either need to live with the results or pay for the repairs or replacement costs yourself.
Cosmetic Damage By Hail
There are an increasing amount of home insurance carriers, particularly those in the vulnerable regions, who are incorporating exclusions for cosmetic damages in their hail coverage leaving you with the bill for anything that is deemed as just aesthetic in nature.
It’s a thin line between cosmetic and functional, however. Something that starts out as just a cosmetic issue, e.g. minor dents in the siding or dings in the roof, could in time lead to more of a significant structural problem. Cosmetic damage is also critical as far as the value of the house for the homeowner, which means that they need to pay to make their home presentable again or they would need to reduce the cost so it can be sold. There are instances with insurance carriers when they will waive the cosmetic exclusion in favor of a higher premium or you can try to find a carrier in your area who doesn’t impose it, to begin with.
Filing For A Hail Damage Claim
Whether you live in a high-risk area for hail or not, you want to have documentation of your home before any type of natural disaster hits, in order that you have a record when your insurance company has to record. You should create an inventory and take photos of the roof and the entire exterior. This way the condition prior to any type of damage has been noted and will be kept in their files. This way when something does happen, it will be apparent that it is new damage.
After there is a hailstorm, you need to document the damage in the same way and take note of the storm’s date. It is going to be essential to get experienced contractors to come and assess the damages to the roof and the exterior. This will help you to determine if it is worth reporting a claim to the carrier. You don’t want to have a hail storm claim go on your record if the damage is found to be limited or perhaps cosmetic in nature, particularly if your plan is one that excludes cosmetic coverage.
If the contractor finds notable damage after inspection, report to your carrier and file the claim. Providers generally require that this be done within a year of the damage having happened. When the adjuster comes to give their estimate, you may want to have the contractors present at the time of inspection so there are no discrepancies.
Filing a claim for hail damage should not increase your premiums as damage to your house due to hail would come under what the carrier deems as “acts of God”. This is not something that the policyholder had any type of control or could prevent. If these events become increasingly more frequent in your particular area and the provider feels that this area has become a higher risk, the plan’s rates could increase as a result of the region’s rates going up as a whole.