Severe weather season in Colorado is still upon us, and the hail storms are not backing down. Thousands of homes and businesses throughout the area have seen extensive damage from the violent weather. Were you in an area that was hit hard? If so, most likely you will have numerous roofing contractors ringing your doorbell offering to inspect your roof and give you a quote. You also may have many questions running through your mind such as, “How can I tell if I have hail damage? Should I turn in a claim? What should I do?” Our agency would like to provide you with advice and a four-step process you may want to follow to help you through a possible hail claim process.
1. Initial Personal Home and Property Inspection/Data Collection First, you should note the date and time of the storm. Insurance claims managers will ask for the date and time of the loss of the storm so they can correlate your claim with local weather storm reports and public authorities. We suggest that immediately following the hail storm you grab your digital camera or phone and walk your around your property and take photos of the following:
- Hail stones covering the yard, sidewalk and patios.
- Hail stones set next to a tape measure. The size of the hail stone is directly proportional to the potential for damage to your roof and shingles.
- Roof- Look for obvious signs of roof damage such as missing or torn shingles, or loss of roof granules, which may
expose the roof felt.
- Air Conditioning Unit- Check your outdoor air conditioning unit for dents or bent cooling fins.
- Siding- Check your home’s siding for apparent damage or discoloring.
2. Have a Reputable Roofer Inspect Your Roof for Hail Damage Before contacting your insurance agent, you should have a reputable roofing contractor inspect your roof for potential hail damage as quickly as possible. The roofing contractor will walk your roof to assess if it has sustained hail damage to reasonably justify an insurance claim. The roof inspection should always be free. Be careful in how you choose a roofing contractor to avoid fraud and unauthorized work. You may want to utilize the following selection criteria:[checklist]
- Deal only with a factory-certified roofing contractor in your area.
- Check the Better Business Bureau report for your prospective factory-certified roofing contractor. Avoid roofing contractors with less than an ‘A-‘ rating. A company can be rated an ‘A-‘ minus simply because of the limited length of time in operation.[/checklist]
Roof inspection advice:
- Make an appointment for a roof inspection.
- Be at home to meet the roofing contractor.
Explain when and what happened during the hail storm, show the roofer your videos and/or photos if available. Request that the roofer outline the hail damaged areas in chalk and take photos to review with you.
- Be absolutely clear that no repairs are to be made at this time, this is only an inspection!
- Do not be pressured into signing anything!
- Go outside and watch while the roofer inspects your roof.
You should listen and watch for any signs of hammering or scraping, which could be a fraudulent attempt to mimic hail damage. Using only factory-certified contractors will go a long way to weeding out the unscrupulous roofers.
If the roof inspection finds evidence of hail damage, the roofing contractor will be able to give you his or her opinion if filing an insurance claim is warranted and what he believes is the likelihood of a claim being approved.
3. File a Roof Hail Damage Insurance Claim If the roofing contractor does believe the hail damage warrants a roof replacement or repair, it is now time to turn in a claim. If you are an RSS client you may want to contact our office so we can assist you if needed. To file a claim for roof hail damage:
- Locate your homeowner’s insurance policy.
- Make a note of your insurance policy number and deductible.
- Organize your facts and records; insurance policy number, date/time of loss, hail size (if known), photos, videos, damage items.
- Call your homeowner’s insurance claim number and provide the necessary information as requested.
- You will be given a claim number by your insurer.
When an insurance claims examiner is assigned to your case, it helps to send your photos and videos of the hail storm for authenticity to better support your claim. The claim examiner will assign a claims adjuster to make an official roof inspection and prepare a repair estimate.
4. Claims Adjuster Roof Inspection After your claim is turned in your insurance company will send out the claims adjuster they have assigned to your claim. Here’s what you can expect:
- The claims adjuster will contact you to make an appointment to inspect the roof.
Offer to share your photos and/or videos of the storm with the adjuster. Most adjusters are appreciative if you e-mail your hail storm photos and video to them.
- You should arrange for the roofing contractor who previously inspected your roof to meet with the insurance adjuster to go on the roof and discuss his findings.
- The claim adjuster may bring along a “high team” to inspect steep and/or high roofs with proper safety gear.
- The roof inspection includes the taking of numerous photos, looking at dents in the soft metals (gutters, box vents, powered attic ventilators) and the marking off 10 ft by 10 ft “test squares” to count the number of hail stone hits on the shingles. Hail stone hits will be marked with chalk for identification in photos.
The claims adjuster will write a report on his findings, prepare an estimate to make spot repairs or replace the roof (assuming damage was found), then forward the report to your claim examiner. The claim examiner will review the report and make a decision on your claim.
Once you receive the decision about your hail damage claim you are ready to go ahead and contract with the roofing contractor you have chosen. We understand that this can be a confusing and stressful process. If at any time you need assistance from one of our team members at RSS, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help!