READYColorado Blog: What to do After a Hail Storm and No Roof Scams
According to a May 2016 National Insurance Crime Bureau report, Colorado had the second highest number of hail claims in the United States from 2013-2015 (182,591), second only to Texas. Colorado's damaging hail season is considered to be from mid-April to mid-September. Colorado's Front Range is located in the heart of "Hail Alley," which receives the highest frequency of large hail in North America and most of the world, so residents usually can count on three or four catastrophic (defined as at least $25 million in insured damage) hailstorms every year.
In the last 10 years, hailstorms have caused more than $3 billion in insured damage in Colorado. As a result, up to one-half of your homeowners insurance premium may be going toward hail and wind damage costs. If you carry comprehensive coverage on your auto policy, hail damage is covered by almost all insurance companies. Comprehensive insurance is optional, but if you live in a hail prone area, the insurance industry recommends this coverage. After a hail storm take the following steps:
- Check trees, shrubs and plants around your house. If they are stripped of their foliage, there is a possibility that your roof is damaged. You should also check for roof damage if patio covers, screens or soft aluminum roof vents are dented.
- Check your car for dents and broken or cracked glass.
Protect Property From Further Damage
- If you find signs that hail has battered your property, take immediate steps to protect it from further damage.
- Cover any broken windows and holes in your roof so that no water can enter and damage your home's interior.
- Cover any broken glass in your car to prevent damage to the interior from rain and remove glass from the car's interior to prevent cuts in upholstery and carpet.
File your Claim
- Call your agent or company as soon as you notice damage. Practically all homeowners policies cover hail damage. You car will be covered if you've purchased comprehensive coverage.
- If your agent or company requests you to do so, follow up your call with a written explanation of what happened.
- Save receipts for what you spend and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Select a Repair Company
- After an insurance adjuster has surveyed the hail damage to your property, select a reputable roofing company or auto body shop to make repairs.
- Allow only the insurance adjuster and roofer you have selected to get up on your roof. Each time someone walks on it, more damage can occur.
- Be wary of out-of-town roofers who move into an area and set up shop following a storm. While most of these firms are reputable, some have collected money from homeowners and moved on to the next storm site without paying suppliers or leaving work unfinished. This can leave homeowners holding the bag for those additional costs. It's a good idea to select a company with established credibility and local references. Word of mouth is still your best guide.
- Be sure roofers have workers compensation and liability insurance. If they don't, you may be held liable if one of the workers is injured or if they damage a neighbor's property.
- Don't make final payment to the roofing company until your roof has been inspected and you are satisfied.
- Download and RMIIA's "Hail Damage Fraud" brochure to protect yourself against insurance fraud.
Use Hail Resistive Roofing Materials
- When building a new home or replacing your roof consider using hail-resistive roofing products. The insurance industry has an Underwriters Laboratory standard ranking, the UL 2218 standard. The standard has four impact-level designations that will help you compare products. Roof coverings that show the most resistance earn a Class 4 rating; the least, a Class 1 rating.
- Impact-resistant Roofs: Smart Steps to Reduce Hailstorm Damage is a free, online learning experience that consists of four self-paced learning modules. It teaches homeowners and other consumers about the benefits of installing impact-resistant residential roofing products.