As I see the hail come down and fill the gutters and downspouts with white little pebbles, I am reminded of just how fickle Mother Nature can be. Why it was just yesterday that I was enjoying a great BBQ with friends and admiring how warm it had gotten. Today, the streets are covered with a white blanket that will soon melt.
No doubt the calls will come in for hail claims tomorrow. A few ideas on how to minimize your losses when dealing with hail:
•- To Claim or Not to Claim?Comp claims on cars normally don't increase your premium, but that claim on your home probably will. Keep that in mind when you look at damage to your home and consider how much you'll receive after your deductible. Is it really worth filing a claim for $1500 when your deductible is $1000?
•- Check out that deductible. Often there is a separate deductible for wind and hail claims. It can be as much as 2% of your dwelling coverage. So that means if your house is insured for $200,000, your deductible for a wind or hail claim will be $4000!
•- Keep your gutters clean! Hail can quickly collect in your gutter and then overflow. That water has to go somewhere and it may back up under your roof causing damage to the roof, the structure, your possessions, and may even flood the basement.
•- Fix or Repair that roof. Older roofs are more susceptible to hail damage as they can't flex with the hail hits. Once a hail pit is formed in a composition roof, it will deteriorate as the elements wear away the protective layer. Have a roofer repair minor damage and extend the life of your existing roof.
File if you have severe damage. If you have severe damage and need to make that claim keep a few things in mind. It is your responsibility to make sure no further damage occurs. If you have a hole in your roof, cover it with a tarp until repairs can be made. Insurance companies expect you to take precautions to safe guard your home. Next, work with your insurance company so that they can settle the claim fairly. If you decide not to provide information or provide inaccurate information it may delay or even have your claim denied. Lastly, pay attention to what you policy says. If you have a provision that gives you ACV or Actual Cash Valuevs. replacement cost on your policy, you will be paying for some of those repairs. ACV will take in consideration the cost of the repairs, less depreciation, less your deductible. That means if it costs $10,000 to replace your roof, and the old roof was half way through it's expected life, your settlement might look like this:
$10,000 - 50% (what's left of your old roofs' life) = $5,000 - $1000 (Your most common deductible) = $4000 paid to you.
Ask your independent agent to review your policy and see what's right for you!