Hailstorm Insurance Claims
Hailstorms are not for Arizona citizens to take lightly. Hail has caused significant property damage and serious personal injuries throughout the state. Hailstorms occur when rainwater droplets in a thunderstorm exceed the freezing level. This creates hailstones, which can grow as more water droplets freeze onto them. When the hailstone becomes too heavy for thunderstorm updrafts, it falls to the ground – potentially damaging homes and vehicles in the process. If a recent Arizona hailstorm left you dealing with property damage, here is what you should know about an insurance claim.
Common Types of Hailstorm Damage
Hailstones typically cause most damage to roofs, gutter systems, and vehicles. Large hailstones coming down on a roof can lead to missing or damaged shingles, gutter dents, and gutters detaching from your home. Hail may also break windows or damage window screens, especially if the hailstones are windborne. Your home’s siding or exterior paint may chip away from impact from hailstones, leaving unsightly cosmetic damage. Bruised siding or wood can expose you to risks of water leaks and related damage. Outdoor appliances and furniture can also sustain damage, as can vehicles.
How to File Your Insurance Claim
Hailstones can hammer down on roofs, vehicles, and air conditioning units. Insurance claims can be complex, as hail may have caused damage to multiple types of properties. You may have to seek recovery through more than one insurer or policy for full coverage. A hail damage insurance claim is like one regarding wind or other storm damage. It is an act of God that your policies will most likely automatically include. Steps to file this type of claim are as follows:
- Assess the damage. Assess your damages from the hailstorm, taking photographs as much as possible. Photographs can help you document and prove the damage the hailstones caused. They can strengthen your insurance claim. Hire a trusted contractor to inspect your property and give an accurate estimate of the cost of damages.
- Call your insurance company. As soon as possible after the hailstorm, report the damage. The insurance company you contact will be determined by what has sustained damage. You may need to file separate claims with your homeowner’s insurer, vehicle insurer, and/or other companies. Protect yourself during your conversation.
- Follow directions. Listen to your insurance agent’s directions for filing your claim, getting damage estimates, and hiring contractors. If your insurance company denies your claim, speak to a bad faith insurance attorney. A lawyer may be able to help you recover your hailstorm damages through a civil claim against the company.
A hailstorm insurance claim will not typically affect your insurance deductible. Hail is an act of God. It is not like an auto accident, where one party is at fault. Your home or vehicle insurance company should not penalize you for filing a claim involving hail damage, since there was nothing you could have done to prevent it. If your insurer does raise your premium, contact an attorney. You may be the victim of bad faith insurance dealings. After the next Arizona hailstorm, file your insurance claim in confidence with help from an Arizona insurance lawyer.