Hail damage can cause major harm to homes, cars, and other property. The incidence of hail damage is becoming far more common in the United States today than it once was. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the number of insurance claims filed due to hail damage increased eighty-four percent between 2010 and 2012. Approximately two million claims were filed due to hail damage between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012.
Storms that cause hail damage are becoming more common, and striking with more intensity, causing greater amounts of damage. Scientists are not able to pinpoint the reason for this shift, but hail damage repairs are costing individuals and companies more money each year. Hail damage can be especially detrimental to crops, ruining a whole season’s worth of growth in seconds. Texas, Missouri, and Kansas were the states that saw the most amount of claims from hail damage over the last three years, with Texas residents and businesses filing over 300,000 claims.
Insurance Companies Response to Increase in Hail Damage
Due to the exponential increase in hail damage claims, many insurance companies have taken hail damage out of the list of events that are covered under a standard property insurance policy. The reason for this is that when many homes or businesses file hail damage insurance claims at the same time, insurance companies must come up with the money all at once. This can put a strain on the insurance company, possibly bankrupting the business. This is not only detrimental to the insurance company; it is also detrimental to the homeowners and businesses that will not have claims covered due to the insurance company’s failure.
To combat the issue without substantially raising the standard homeowners’ insurance policy, many insurance companies offer separate extended coverage policies that will cover hail damage. This gives homeowners and businesses the option to pay extra to ensure that hail damage will be covered. Not all homeowners’ and businesses will opt to purchase the additional coverage, so an insurance company will not be hit as hard in the event that a hail storm causes major damage to many homes and businesses that are insured through the particular company. Since the extra policy also generates extra capital for the insurance company, this can be used to cover claims that have been filed by homeowners and businesses that have opted for the additional coverage.
Drawbacks of Hail Damage as an Extended Coverage Policy
While separating policies is beneficial to insurance companies, it can be detrimental to homeowners and businesses. It is automatically more expensive to cover all of the possible weather events, including hail damage. If the home or business chooses not to purchase the extended coverage for hail damage, the owner runs the risk of having to pay all expenses in the event of hail damage. This can ruin a business or bankrupt a homeowner.
Filing a Hail Damage Claim
After a hail storm, hail damage may not be immediately obvious. Property owners must be diligent about checking the roof, foliage, and windows for evidence of hail damage. If a hail damage claim is not filed within a specified amount of time, the hail damage claim may not be covered. If damage is discovered, the property owner should document the extent of the damage as thoroughly as possible. Taking pictures is advised to gather a visual record of the damage. The insurance company should be contacted next.
The insurance company will typically send out an insurance adjuster to inspect and record the damage, determining an estimated cost of repair. Property owners should wait until the insurance adjuster has done an inspection to begin minor repairs, to avoid discrepancies in damage reports. Insurance companies will usually take into consideration repairs that must be fixed immediately to avoid further damage, and may allow an advance to assist with costs. Property owners should save all receipts for records.
Hail Damage Repair Fraud
There have been instances in areas that have suffered major storm damage of dishonest contractors approaching homes or businesses and stating that they have been sent by an insurance company to begin repairs. In many cases, the contractors took money from the property owner and disappeared. In some cases, repairs were made and the property owner was liable for payment. In this situation, the property owner would be well advised to get everything in writing, and verify with the insurance company before allowing the repairs to be made.
Orlando Hail Damage Attorneys
If a property owner is denied a hail damage claim that was believed to be covered, an attorney should be contacted. An attorney will be able to determine if an insurance company intentionally supplied misleading information that caused the property owner to believe that the hail damage would be covered. An attorney will be able to give guidance about possible legal avenues to award the property owner any rightful compensation for the damage.
“Hail Damage Insurance Claims Can Be Difficult.” Adjusters International. Adjuster International, n.d. Web. 18 Sep 2013. <http://www.adjustersinternational.com/haildamageclaim.cfm>.
” NICB Reports Hail Damage Claims in the United States, 2010-2012.” NCIB National Insurance Crime Bureau. National Insurance Crime Bureau, 17 Jul 2013. Web. 18 Sep 2013. <https://www.nicb.org/newsroom/news-releases/hail-damage-claims-in-the-us>.
“Number of Hail Damage Insurance Claims Up 84% since 2010.” Insurance Journal. Wells Media Group, 18 Jul 2013. Web. 18 Sep 2013. <http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2013/07/18/298895.htm>.