It’s already shaping up to be a crazy weather season! The bomb cyclone on March 13th, followed by a tornado just east of Falcon which dumped up to 6” of hail on the north and east sides of town. Then I recently heard that Dallas got 4” hail. That’s not 4 inches of hail – that’s hail that’s 4” in diameter! All signs are indicating that this spring and summer will see more unusual weather activity and that could mean more hail. When it begins hailing here in Colorado homeowners normally make one big, common mistake.
Don’t Make This Common, Major Mistake!
Many people make the mistake of thinking that they should immediately call their insurance company to request to have an "inspector" come out to look at their roof after a hail storm. They think that the "inspector" will tell them if they have hail damage or not, and whether or not they should file a claim.
The reason this is a big mistake is that once you call your insurance company to ask to have someone come look at your roof, you have filed a claim. The "inspector" that comes to look at your roof is actually a claims adjuster who has been assigned to determine an estimated value to repair the damages to your property. He is not there to inspect for damages, other than to verify that the property actually suffered a loss. But guess what? Once you have filed a claim, even if you have no damage, you will still have a claim on your record. That's why you shouldn't call your insurance company after a hail storm!
Of course, there are always exceptions to this “rule.” If we get another storm that drops hail like the ones in this photo, you’ll have obvious damage to your property. This photo was sent to me right after the June 13, 2018 storm, and homeowners all over Fountain knew they had substantial damage, from shredded siding, to busted out windows, to holes completely through their roofs. If we have another “whopper” storm like this and you can see that you have sustained damage, then don’t hesitate to call your insurance company and file a claim. If we have one of our “normal” storms and your home gets hit with hail that the size of a quarter or smaller, then don’t call your insurance company. Contact Homestead Roofing or another roofing contractor and mention that you would like to have your roof inspected for hail damage. Your goal should be to find out if your property has insurable damage.
Should You File A Claim?
After a storm, door-to-door roofers and roofing phone solicitors will be hard at work to convince you to sign up with them for your roof replacement. One of their favorite tactics is to tell you that they can see hail damage on your roof from the street. Is this true? Why can they see it but you don't notice anything unusual on your roof? What does hail damage look like any way?
Perhaps you can see parts of your roof from a 2nd story window, or maybe you've climbed up on it to self-inspect after a recent hail storm, and you're wondering if you have damage or not, and don't know if what you're seeing on your roof is from the recent storms.
This is why it’s really important to get 3rd-party input. A good, honest roofing contractor will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision about filing a claim
- It could be that you do have hail damage, but it may not be extensive enough on the roof to warrant a claim. If the damage is only on some of your roof slopes, your insurance company may not accept the claim as a total loss. Or, there could be too few hail hits to warrant a total. In either of these situations, if you were to file a claim, your claim could be denied or accepted as only a partial replacement or a repair, in which case it may not make financial sense for you to have filed a claim.
- Perhaps, under certain circumstances, even though you may have some slight damage, a roofing contractor may suggest you not file a claim. But if your house is for sale, or will be for sale soon, you may have to address the damage in order to overcome any of the inspection objections. For example, if you’re going to be living in the home for a long time, and if the damage is slight enough to not be a concern, it may not be worth it to file a claim. But, if you’re selling the house, the buyer may require you to take care of the damage before he feels comfortable with the purchase.
- Many insurance companies are changing their policies so that the homeowner has a much higher ownership of liability for damage repairs. It could be that your deductible has increased and your out of pocket expense will be a significant portion of the cost of the repairs. Last year we encountered homeowners who had deductibles of $3000, $5,000, and even a couple as high as $12,000! This certainly could be a factor that will inform your decision to file a claim.
What If You Don’t File A Claim?
Occasionally people will express a concern to us that if they don’t file a claim and get the damage repaired that they’ll have a leak. In most cases, that is not a concern. Of course, in Fountain and the Broadmoor last year, the hail did penetrate the wood decking beneath the shingles, or smashed tile and metal roofs. Those homes did have leak problems. However, normal hail damage rarely causes a leak. In most cases, normal hail damage can be left for years without repairs. There are several factors which should be considered when deciding on having the repairs or replacement completed, so we encourage you to contact us if your home gets hit by another storm in 2019.