Hail Damage Claims

Hail damage is deceptive and can be quite expensive to fix. If you live in an area prone to severe weather and have a low slope or flat roof with asphalt shingles, you are in the high-risk category. The good news is that most homeowners insurance policies cover damage from hail.

In the United States, hail is most prevalent where Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming meet—an area known as Hail Alley. Hail is possible within two nautical miles of the parent storm in any thunderstorm, meaning hail can occur practically anywhere if the natural conditions permit.

Insurers may try to argue the damage suffered from a hail storm does not fit the conditions necessary for a claim. At Merlin Law Group, we fight for policyholders to hold their insurers accountable to fulfilling their promise to protect your property from damage, including damage occurring from hail.

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Hail Damage FAQs
Our Attorneys are Here to Answer Your Questions

Hail is a form of solid precipitation where frozen rain forms into layered pellets and falls in showers from cumulonimbus clouds. The individual balls or irregular lumps of ice are referred to as hailstones. While ice is often associated with colder temperatures, it is possible for hail to form in warmer climates.

Policyholders are obligated to meet certain post-loss conditions in order to file a successful claim. A common condition requires policyholders to provide prompt notice of the loss to their carrier. Your policy language may outline a specific period to file a claim after suffering a loss. You could lose your chance to file if that period elapses. Be sure to read your insurance policy to determine any time constraints related to filing a claim after a loss.

Your roof is most vulnerable to hail damage. If you live in an area where hail damage is more frequent, keep in mind that insurance will likely cost more due to the increased risk and prevalence of damage from hail.

In regions with a propensity for hail, it is common for insurers to have a separate deductible for hail damage. You can determine this by reviewing the policy language. Hail deductibles are typically a percentage of your property’s dwelling coverage limit. You can set your hail deductible when you obtain the policy. These deductibles can be adjusted at any time by contacting your insurance agent.

The best way of avoiding higher costs with damage from hail is to stormproof your roof with impact-resistant shingles. Some insurance companies offer discounts for policyholders that install impact-resistant shingles. Another way to mitigate cost from hail damage is to verify whether your insurance company has any endorsements or additional roof coverage options. For example, a Better Roof Replacement endorsement would pay to replace your damaged roof with stronger materials if it is damaged by a covered peril like hail.

Verisk, an analytics firm providing data for insurance and financial companies, published a 2019 report that outlines Texas, Illinois, Missouri. Minnesota, Oklahoma, Kansas, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado as the top 10 states affected by hail damage. 

Tips for Ensuring Adequate Payments from an Insurer to Properly Replace a Hail Damaged Roof:

  • Immediately notify the carrier of all damage.
  • Inform the insurance adjuster that an expert needs to determine the condition of the entire roof system, in addition to areas immediately visible.
  • Review the property insurance policy to determine which provisions may apply to the damage. If a complete copy of the policy is not available, make a written request to the adjuster to obtain a complete certified copy of the policy (including all endorsements) as soon as possible.
  • Retain an expert in roof repair and replacement to perform non-destructive testing in conjunction with core cuts to determine if the damaged top layer (i.e., EPDM, TPO, Built-Up, Modified Bitumen, shake shingles, asphalt shingles) can be replaced with or without additional work to substrate, insulation, sheathing or decking based on code and manufacturer specifications for repair/replacement.
  • Document everything including test results, photos of all substrate layers down to the roof deck, and the expert’s findings.
  • Provide the adjuster with maintenance records, which may show the roof functioned properly until the date of loss.
  • If your expert/roofing contractor determines any substrate, including the structural deck, must also be repaired or replaced in order to put the roof back to its pre-loss condition and functionality, immediately provide this information to Your insurer.

We Had a Hailstorm Months Ago, But I Just Realized the Severity of the Damage: Is It Too Late to Make an Insurance Claim?

Policyholders must meet post-loss obligations under their property insurance policy prior to receiving coverage for a loss. A common condition precedent requires policyholders to provide prompt notice of the loss to their carrier.

Prompt Notice of Hail Damage—What is It?

The Merlin Law Group blog outlines what is considered prompt notice in regards to hail damage and some of the challenges around identifying a claim.

A Hail Dented Roof is Covered Direct Physical Damage and Loss

Only insurance company claims managers and their paid for lawyers could argue that a hail dented roof is not a covered loss under a property insurance policy which specifically covers this type of damage.

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Chip Merlin, Merlin Law Group
Chip Merlin
Founder & President

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