Properties in Florida face some of the most severe weather in the country. While hurricanes, high winds, and storm surges are the most common threats, other types of storms are also frequent. In particular, property owners in Florida occasionally have to contend with hailstorms, with individual hailstones that exceed an inch in diameter.
While severe hail is usually more localized than other Florida weather threats, it is no less devastating. If your property has been damaged by hail, you can likely file a claim with your insurance company. Here’s what you need to know about the risks hailstorms pose, how to tell if the damage is covered by your insurance, and how to file your claim for hail damage.
How Hail Can Damage Your Home
You’ve probably seen the harm that even moderate hailstorms can cause to cars and other objects left outside. Hailstones often cause cosmetic damage to vehicles and can even break windshields. That damage is easy to spot, unlike the harm these storms can cause your home.
While the average roof is designed to hold up to small amounts of hail, it might not withstand heavier storms. Large hailstones have been recorded falling as fast as 120 mph, almost half the speed of a shotgun blast. That’s more than enough to break shingles, dent or perforate siding, or break exterior fixtures like exhaust fans and ducts.
However, this damage is often hard to spot. Simply checking your roof’s condition from the ground may not be enough to spot serious issues. This is a problem because if a storm has damaged your roof or other fixtures and you don’t repair it quickly, it can lead to more serious water and mold issues as rain leaks in. That’s why it’s crucial to identify hail damage immediately and file an insurance claim to get it repaired as soon as possible.
Is Hail Damage Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance?
If you have a comprehensive insurance policy like most commercial property- and homeowners, hail damage is most likely covered. However, do not assume you have coverage without carefully reviewing your policy. Some insurers will specifically exclude hailstorms from a policy if you live in a high-risk area.
The best way to tell whether you have coverage for hail damage is to review your policy with an experienced insurance attorney. Your lawyer will walk you through the coverage your policy provides and explain exactly what you can and cannot expect after your property has been damaged. They will also help you submit a claim that covers everything relevant to the situation to minimize the risk of your insurer unfairly denying or underpaying you.
Do You Have a Hail Deductible?
So, how much does insurance cover for hail damage claims? That depends on your policy. Insurers may structure policies in several ways, each of which changes how much you will receive for your share.
In most cases, you’ll need to pay a deductible before your insurer starts to cover additional costs. Until you reach the deductible, you are responsible for all costs incurred even if your claim is covered. However, once you reach the deductible, the insurer will cover the costs instead. Examples of common policy structures include:
- Comprehensive policies with a deductible: These contracts group hail in with all other sources of damage to your property. The deductible for your hail claim is the same one used for issues, so if you’ve already met it through another claim, you will not have to pay it again.
- Hail riders or endorsements with a separate deductible: If you have a hail rider attached to your policy, it may also have a separate deductible. In this case, even if you’ve met your deductible through another claim, you’d still have to pay the specific deductible before receiving coverage.
- Riders or endorsements with no deductible: Some riders are deductible-free, meaning the insurer will cover all costs. However, these are typically more expensive than those with deductibles.
Steps to File a Hail Damage Insurance Claim
Once you know whether you have hail coverage, you can begin filing your claim. While every insurer’s claims process differs slightly, your responsibilities remain mostly the same. You’ll need to:
- Document the Damage: As soon as it is safe, get pictures of the damage. If you can, get photos of the hailstones as well, with a ruler for context. This ensures there is no doubt about what caused the destruction.
- Make Emergency Repairs: If you spot holes, leaks, or broken windows caused by the storm, make emergency repairs like boarding windows or tarping your roof to keep the damage from worsening.
- Contact an Attorney: Your lawyer can help you navigate the claims process and communicate with the insurer on your behalf. They can also help you get a second opinion on the extent of the damage if necessary.
- Get Repair Quotes: With your attorney’s help, get quotes from licensed contractors on how much it will cost to repair the damage.
- File Your Claim: Submit your documentation and any quotes to your insurer with your claim, then wait to receive the settlement offer.
Consult The Professional Law Group Before Making Your Hail Insurance Claim
Hailstorms can be devastating, but they’re usually covered by insurance. If your home has been damaged by hailstones, do not hesitate to contact the expert Florida insurance lawyers at The Professional Law Group. Our knowledgeable team can help you file your claim and avoid the risk of denials or underpayments for serious hail damage. If you’ve already had your claim denied or underpaid, we can also help you dispute the insurance company’s decision. Schedule your free case review today to learn more about how we can help you.