We love living in Texas, but sometimes the weather doesn’t love us back. Take hailstorms, for example. What do you do when your house is damaged because of a hailstorm? Hail can cause significant damage to your home, and not just to the roof.
If you haven’t been through this before, you might not have thought of all the details you need to address to get you headed back to where you were before the storm arrived. With that in mind, here are some tips for how to handle this specific extreme weather situation.
If you are home, write down the time and date. If you were not home when it happened, write down the time you left (when your property was fine) and the time you returned (after the damage took place). You might think “I’ll never forget it” at the time, but, write it down anyway, just in case.
This is a lot simpler than it used to be. Many people have a phone with a decent camera they can use to take lots and lots of photos. If you don’t have a phone with a camera, one of your neighbors or a nearby friend probably has one you can borrow. Borrow it.
You’ll want photos showing the size of the hail. Put something next to the hail to give a good idea of the size. A ruler is great, but if you don’t have one handy, take a photo of the hail next to some other object. Then you can take a picture of that object again later next to a ruler or measuring tape and that will show how large the hail was.
You’ll also want photos of the hail covering the ground. And if it covers any surfaces, take pictures of that, as well. Your roof, obviously, but also tables, chairs, patio bricks, a grill, etc. – basically anything outside which might help to show evidence of how much hail came down at your address can be helpful.
And, naturally, you will want photos showing any damage caused by the hail. That may include pitting on your roof’s shingles or even missing shingles, but also might mean: broken windows; damaged gutters; damage to any vehicles you have which were parked outside and exposed to the storm; damaged trees, shrubs and other plants; damaged A/C units; obvious leaks and more.
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Take Care of First Things First
If your family is safe, and only property is damaged, address the most important problem areas first. If you have broken windows, call out a repairman and get those fixed.
If your roof is leaking, get a professional on site so they can cover it with a tarp to stop the leaking, then make any urgent repairs to stop the leak. If your car has also been damaged by the hail, you may need to get some repairs done on your vehicle before you can safely drive again. If anything else is damaged by the hail which is affecting the security and safety of your property and your family, get those things fixed right away.
Get a Professional Roof Inspection for Hail Damage
A reputable roofer in your area will likely be happy to provide you with a thorough inspection of your roof following a hail storm. They will know how to spot some of the signs of hail damage the rest of us might miss. You may even want to obtain several such reports and inspections from different roofers. This will make you more prepared for the next step.
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Contact Your Insurance Company
If you are out of the emergency situation (your home is livable again – safe and secure for your family) and you have one or more professional hail damage inspections, you’re in good shape to contact your insurance company and file your claim.
They will want to send out an adjuster to make their own inspection, but having your own inspection up front helps to prove the claim is legitimate. When their inspector arrives, you may wish to have your preferred roofer (someone who already provided you with a hail damage report) on hand to meet with them and go through the details of the damages. That provides a chance for your roofer to explain what they have seen and what they expect will be needed to make things right again.
Just so you know, it’s not uncommon to have a separate deductible for damage to your home which is caused by hail or wind. It may not be the same as the deductible for other covered damages to your property.
And unless your roof is brand new when the hail strikes, the insurance company will likely depreciate the value of your roof before the agree to cover a certain amount of repairs. That way the insurance company isn’t out the cost of replacing a 25 year old roof as though it was new.
You need a skilled advocate to protect your legal rights and present your claim in such a way as to maximize your recovery.
What If the Insurance Company Still Fails to Make Things “Tight”?
Even if you have followed all of these steps, it is possible, in the end, that your insurance company will somehow try to shortchange you or deny your claims outright. If that happens, you’ll want the help of experienced attorneys like those at Carrigan Anderson.
They can help if you need to seek reparations because an insurance company isn’;t doing their job and taking care of the damages you have been paying them to cover.
If they’ve taken your money, but don’t want to be fair about paying for damages caused by a hailstorm, you can contact the professionals at Carrigan Anderson. They’ll put their experience to work for you.
At Carrigan & Anderson, PLLC we can talk to you about your options and rights.