We are in the midst of hail season here in Nebraska, one of the states with the highest risk of hail damage. While you can take measures to prevent hail damage to assets such as your car (by putting it in the garage), your roof is left vulnerable to the elements. When you suspect that your roof has sustained hail damage after a severe storm, you may need to file a hail damage claim with your insurance company. This process is outlined below:
- Contact a professional roofing contractor to conduct a free roof inspection for any hail damage. Ideally, you should do this as quickly after the storm as possible. When the contractor inspects your roof, he/she will let you know whether or not the damage is sufficient enough to justify filing an insurance claim (i.e., if the cost of repair exceeds your deductible).
- Locate your homeowner’s insurance policy. Take note of both your insurance policy number, as well as your deductible. Also make a note of the date of loss (when your home sustained hail damage) and an estimated size of the hail (or provide photos of the hail, if you have them)
- Call your homeowner’s insurance company’s claims line. They will give you a claim number, and an insurance claims examiner and adjuster will be assigned to your case.
- The insurance adjuster will schedule a time to inspect your roof and prepare an estimate. It is helpful to have the roofing contractor who originally inspected your roof meet with the adjuster for this inspection.
- During the inspection, the adjuster will inspect 10 foot by 10 foot “test squares,” counting the number of hail stone hits per square. These hail stone hits are typically marked with chalk.
- The adjuster will then write a report with his/her findings, as well as an estimate, and pass it back to the claims examiner, who will make a decision on your claim.
- If your claim is approved, it is then time to authorize a professional roofing contractor to complete the repair. (Note: It is very possible that your neighbor’s insurance claim for hail damage is approved, while yours is not. Various factors play a role in whether or not a claim is approved, including different insurance company’s evaluation criteria for hail damage, as well as the orientation of your home in relation to the storm, the quality of the roofing material on your home, as well as the steepness of your roof’s slopes.)
- Your insurance company will issue you payment to pay for the repair. This typically comes in two payment installments: one prior to the job beginning, and one after the job has been completed and you have sent the contractor’s Certificate of Completion to the insurance. If the scope of loss is large, they may include your mortgage company as a co-payee on the check. This means you will have to have your mortgage company endorse the check. Remember that you are responsible for paying the deductible out-of-pocket.