Dealing With Hail Damage? How Can You Maximize Your Claim Proceeds?

If your home has recently weathered a severe thunderstorm or tornado with high winds and hail, you may be inspecting your battered roof with dismay. Worse yet can be dealing with interior water leaks or moisture caused by a hail-damaged roof -- especially while weather conditions are still too dicey to make any type of serious repairs. Will your homeowner's insurance cover hail damage resulting from a storm or other weather event? How can you ensure you receive all the insurance funds to which you're entitled? Read on to learn more about handling a hail damage claim in a way that can help you maximize the proceeds of your claim. 

When will your homeowner's insurance cover a hail-damaged roof?

One common misconception (particularly among homeowners who have never made an insurance claim) is the belief that an insurance policy will pay enough to completely replace a damaged roof. Like other "wear and tear" items, your roof will be subject to a depreciation schedule -- and if your roof was already a couple of decades old when the storm rolled in, you could find yourself on the receiving end of an insurance check that won't be enough to replace even a fraction of your roof. This is why it's important not to base the potential value of your insurance claim on the amount a neighbor or friend was quoted for similar damage. 

In other situations, your insurance company may argue that any damage to your roof was due to neglect or the normal aging process, rather than a storm that pelted the surface with hail or high winds that ripped off shingles. You could find yourself faced with the prospect of paying out of pocket for an independent inspection and appraisal to rebut the insurance company's claims that your damage wasn't storm-related. In the meantime, the existing damage to your roof could continue to worsened after exposure to continued bad weather. 

How can you ensure you receive all the insurance funds to which you're entitled? 

There are a couple of things you'll want to do to both mitigate the risk that your hail damage claim will be questioned (or denied) and maximize the settlement amount eventually received from your homeowner's insurance company.

First, you'll want to thoroughly document the extent of the storm itself, as well as the resulting damage. If you have any photos or videos of the high winds that sent lawn chairs flying or hail stones that landed on your deck, you'll be able to more conclusively establish that the damage to your roof was due to a sudden storm rather than ongoing wear and tear. Once it's safe for you to go outside or climb onto a ladder to visually observe your roof, you'll want to quickly take some photos of the most damaged areas in case you need to perform any temporary repairs to prevent leakage. It could take several days (or even weeks) for an insurance adjuster to inspect your roof, and you may want to take some remedial waterproofing measures in the meantime.

You'll also want to make sure you're home (and free) to meet with the claims adjuster when he or she visits to inspect your roof. Being preoccupied with young children, rowdy pets, or other distractions can prevent you from pointing out damaged areas and lead to an inadequate or incomplete inspection report, diminishing the total value of your claim. Being proactive throughout this process and ensuring you're able to quickly respond to documentation requests or arrange inspections will go a long way toward the quick resolution and success of your homeowner's insurance claim. 

For more information on steps to take afterwards to repair the roof damage, contact roofing companies in the area, such as Rocky Mountain Roofers & Gutters.