Hail Damage and Home Insurance: What’s Covered?
If you’ve ever heard the sound of hail hitting a metal roof, you know just how damaging a hailstorm can be to a home. The good news is that when you’ve got homeowners insurance in your back pocket, your home is protected against even the most severe hailstones.
However, hail is more frequent in certain regions of the country—and insurers in those areas tend to hike up costs for hail damage coverage because of it.
We believe that everyone deserves to be able to protect their homes, no matter where they live. That’s why we’re here to help you get the best full coverage possible—without paying an arm and a leg. Stay with us as we cover everything you need to know about hail coverage—from what it covers and how much it costs to how to make a claim—– for the ultimate peace of mind.
How Does My Location Affect My Hail Insurance?
If you live in a state or region where hail storms frequently occur, your insurer will likely limit your hail coverage or increase your monthly premium to reflect the higher risk.
“Hail Alley” is the nickname for the part of the US that’s most vulnerable to damaging hail storms. It’s located approximately at the junction where the state borders of Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado meet. However, in recent years, damaging hail storms have become more common in other parts of the country, as well, including:
- North Carolina
If you live in any of the states listed above (including Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado), your policy could include exceptions for “cosmetic” damage or higher deductibles specifically for hail. As a result, you’d need to pay for more of the damage out of pocket. In this case, it’s important to speak with your insurer about purchasing additional coverage specifically for wind and hail if it isn’t included in the standard policy. If you’re unsure whether or not your homeowners coverage will pay for hail damage to your home, you can always check your policy for restrictions or as your insurer directly.
How to Make a Hail Damage Roof Insurance Claim
If you do have coverage, you’ll need to promptly file a claim when hail damages your home . Most standard policies require filing a claim within one year of hail storm damage, but depending on your insurer, you may have less time. Here’s how to go about it:
Step 1: Document the damage: The first step to filing a claim happens even before a hail storm arrives. Take photos of your home’s roof and exterior, and upload the pictures to your insurer’s website (most insurers have a place for you to do this). After the hail storm, take extensive photographs of the damage to your home from the ground. If possible, measure or estimate the size of the hail (though you should never go up on the roof to do so). If necessary, cover the damage with a tarp to protect your home while the claim is processed.
Step 2: Submit a claim: When you file a claim, you are requesting that your insurance company pay for repairs to your home based on the coverage in your policy. Get in touch with your insurer as soon as possible, and ask to submit a claim. Your insurance agent will explain what’s covered under your current policy and walk you through the next steps. This step typically involves meeting with an insurance adjuster, and you may be asked to submit photos or videos beforehand.
Step 3: Collect repair estimates before the adjuster arrives: As soon as you’ve contacted your insurer, it’s time to get some estimates. Reach out to several contractors in your area and ask for estimates for the cost to repair your home. It’s typically best to get three quotes from three different contractors.
There are a couple of important things to keep in mind here. First, time is of the essence. If your local area was affected by the hailstorm, contractors may become busy with others needing estimates as well, so be sure to reach out as quickly as possible.
Second, don’t sign any contracts, hire anyone for the work, or make any type of payment yet. You don’t want to begin repairs until after the adjuster has inspected your home, or else you may not get compensation from your insurer. Once the contractor has assessed your home, they can speak with the adjuster to ensure that you get a fair assessment of the total damage and cost for repairs.
Step 4: Meet with your insurance adjuster: After filing a claim, you will be asked to schedule an appointment with an insurance adjuster. They’ll come to your home to determine the cause of the damage and assess the total cost. You will share with them your photographs, as well as any estimates you’ve gathered from local contractors. The adjuster will then create a report with all the details that will be submitted to the insurance company to help process the claim.
If the adjuster’s initial offer doesn’t cover the full cost of repairs as estimated by your contractor, you don’t have to accept it. In this situation, you’d need to contact the adjuster and attempt to reach an agreement. You may also choose to have your contractor speak with the adjuster directly, or even ask the contractor to attend the initial meeting with the adjuster. If you don’t reach an agreement, you also have the right to hire an independent
Step 5: Receive a Payout: After your insurer has approved your claim and you’ve reached a settlement for the cost of repairs, you will receive a payout for the cost of repairs (minus your deductible). The claims payment process can vary depending on your situation, so you’ll want to speak to your insurance provider to know what to expect. Here are a few different ways the payout process works:
You may receive an initial advance payment that doesn’t cover the total cost of repairs. The rest will be paid out once repairs are complete.If damage from the hail storm is extensive, you may receive multiple payments for damage to your home and personal belongings, as well as living expenses if you need to temporarily relocateIf you owe money on your home’s mortgage, you may have to work with your mortgage company before receiving a payment.
Step 6: Hire a contractor for repairs: Once your claim has been approved, and you have reached a settlement for the cost of repairs, it’s time to repair your home’s damages. Your insurer may refer you to a contractor, but you have the final say on who completes the work. You should review the background of any contractor or company you hire, and ensure that they are fully licensed. Your insurer will pay in advance half of the total cost to allow you to begin repairs. The last half will be sent upon completion, minus your deductible. If you owe money on the mortgage of your home, the company will generally send a check made out to you and your mortgage company. You’ll then have to work with the mortgage company to get the money released for repairs.
Free Quotes for a Policy That Fits Your Needs and Budget
Protecting your home is a must no matter where you live—but it’s especially critical if you live in an area that’s prone to hailstorms. Thanks to our fast and affordable online home insurance quotes, you can choose a policy and get your coverage—all in a matter of minutes. Get your free quote today and enjoy the peace of mind that you and your family are financially protected.