Tips for Filing Hail Damage Claims
In Texas, we should be used to sunny, warm, and beautiful days. Unfortunately, we have been dealing with rain and thunderstorms for quite some time now. Many of these storms didn’t come alone. They brought hail and damaged many people’s cars and homes. One hail storm in San Antonio this year resulted in 30,000 auto and property hail damage claims. In fact, hail insurance claims rose by 48% nationwide last year.
Luckily, insurance companies are there to protect our belongings when things like this happen. However, insurance companies don’t always take care of people like they should.
You can file hail damage for your car or your property, like your home. When you file a hail damage claim, you need to make sure you are covering all your steps.
Auto Hail Damage
Hail storms usually create cosmetic damages for car owners. The damages don’t usually put you at risk to drive, but you might see the damage each time you approach your vehicle. Some people decide to live with the dings, and others may file for hail damage.
Those who file might learn that the cost of repair doesn’t come close to the amount of their deductible. Others who file may learn that all those small dings add, and the car is considered “totaled.”
Make sure that you take plenty of photos of the damage, and call your insurance company to go over any details. Fill out the claim as accurately as you can. You can also take your car to auto repair shops to gather estimates, but make sure you ask for a breakdown of each estimate for the insurance company. If your insurance company sends a risk assessor, don’t be afraid to argue your case. Their job is to save the insurance company money, but you want to make sure you are compensated properly to cover the damage repairs.
If you have comprehensive insurance coverage, you should be covered for hail damage. This type of insurance usually covers damages that are caused by more than just collision, like vandalism or thefts. However, you will have to pay the deductible. Many times, it is not worth the money or the hassle if the damage is very minor. However, major damage may total your car.
Property Hail Damage
After a hail storm, make sure you walk around your home and take pictures of the damage to the exterior, air conditioning unit, etc. If you can, take pictures of the hail stones and their size. Don’t forget to check the roof for broken shingles and other signs of roof damage. USAA advises people to document all damages before making repairs, save receipts, check the status of your claim, and be aware of contractor scams. Sometimes, people may pose as contractors after big storms and approach damaged homes to try to steal money from right under your nose.
Before you call an insurance company, you may want to bring in a professional roofing contractor to assess the damage completely. Roofers are trained to locate and fix and damages and can point out something you may not notice – like a leak that was caused by the hail. Just like you would with your car, ask for a detailed proposal that outlines the cost to replace or repair the damages. However, do not pay for anything to be fixed right away! Only the insurance adjuster can approve your claim. If you pay for a repair and your claim isn’t approved, you will not be reimbursed for your payment.
Many insurance companies have a given time period for you to file your claim, it may be within six months of damage or within one year. It is best to file your claim as soon as possible. Once your claim has been filed, your insurance company will send out a roofing inspector. This is why it is important to have someone look at your roof before calling your insurance company. The inspector might not notice some of the damages or might try to give you an estimate that is less than what you were quoted.
Insurances will often approve or disapprove a claim depending on the severity of the damage, your home’s orientation to the storm, etc. Luckily, attorneys can hold insurance companies accountable. A qualified attorney understands the law and can ensure that you are properly compensated for your damages.
Ryan Orsatti Law
If a storm has caused hail damage to your belongings and insurance companies are denying your claim, contact Ryan Orsatti Law. Ryan Orsatti will take care of the claim for you and ensure you are properly taken care of. Don’t let insurance companies take advantage of you. Call us at (210) 525-1200 for a free case evaluation.