Recovering from a Hailstorm
Have you been impacted from hail yet this season? Typically hail occurs between April and September in our region. The Denver Metro region is jokingly referred to as “hail alley” by some meteorologists as hail tends to fall within our area with the largest frequency in all of North America. Many of our clients were hit hard by the storm in June, which produced hail that was 3 inches in diameter and fell at speeds up to 80 miles per hour! While the storm was impressive in terms of hail stone size, it did not even touch the 4.5 inch diameter record in the books for a storm that occurred in 2011. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Colorado holds the record for the second highest number of hail-related claims to Texas. This latest storm is estimated to amount to $300 million worth of insurance claims for damage. The area of destruction was concentrated in the Louisville/Superior area. Estimates of claim rank this storm as the eighth-most expensive storm in the state. Here are some considerations for those to consider who have been impacted:
Rising Costs of Premiums
Colorado ranks third in the nation for fastest rising homeowner premiums and third in the nation for fasting rising auto premiums. We heard reports of deductibles immediately being raised following the storm for new applicants. Other insurance companies are offering alternatives to avoid raising costs across the board like offering a separate wind-hail deductible option.
Avoid Roofing Scams
The BBB has formed a movement to fight roofing contractor fraud, called No Roof Scams. The site has some useful resources including an interactive Scam Tracker map. In general, get more than one estimate, do your due diligence on the roofing companies in terms of online reviews/licensing/BBB rating, get everything in writing, ensure the contract is solid including a “right to rescind” if your insurance claim is denied, confirm whether the company performs the work themselves or use 3rd party contractors, and never pay in advance or provide down payment. Also, when establishing the terms of your homeowner's insurance, make sure you opt for “replacement cost value” versus “actual cost value” – the latter of which deduct depreciated value of your roof from the total payout.
Damage to Vehicles
Car insurance policies only cover hail damage if you have comprehensive coverage. A representative from the insurance company or an auto body repair shop will inspect your vehicle(s) and determine whether the car requires repair or replacement. Check with your insurance provider about the necessary steps before proceeding. Are you considering buying a hail-damaged vehicle? Consider the following:
- Have an automotive technician inspect the vehicle to ensure that the damage is just cosmetic and not so extensive that it affects window seals, etc.
- Talk with your insurance company to understand if you will be able to fully insure the car with “comprehensive” coverage. Some companies will not offer this option to protect themselves from individuals who dishonestly try to file claims for repair from previous storms.
- Check the Carfax before negotiating the price for the vehicle to see if any hail-related claims were filed. This will reduce the value of the car and such a record may impact your ability to sell the vehicle later so don’t overpay now!
- Check with your lender first, if you choose to finance your purchase, to ensure they will lend on a hail-damaged vehicle.
Necessary disclosure: we are not insurance professionals so please consult the necessary professional for advice and further guidance.