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Insurance Claims

Insurance Claims

 

Sometimes weather can behave rashly when the wind speeds are very high. Especially in places like Springfield, Virginia (which is well known for violent weather conditions), rainy springs and snowy winds can cause a lot of problems in the daily lives of the citizens.

If you belong to the region, you must be already aware of it.

But if you are new residents of the place then you must be ready for all the after storm damage. Your neighbors will tell you about the struggle of cleaning up your home surrounding after a storm. The damages due to different types of storms can be tragic.

But, hail storms cause an unnoticeable internal damage to your building apart from a lot of external damage, particularly the roof. You need to have a trained eye in order to spot the damage. Since the nature of damage caused is obscure, it puts a lot of homeowners in a dilemma about the further process of claiming an insurance.

We understand that there is a lot of confusion amongst you regarding the roof damage caused due to hailstorms and hence we have brought the details on how to go about after facing hailstorm damage.

 

Hail Storm Damages are tricky, Why?

All the hails in a hailstorm never lead to any considerable damage to your home. They may bring down some branches of trees or maybe put a small crack in your open garden furniture. It is the big hails (size of golf balls) which actually cause the major damages to your home. But unfortunately, many homeowners are not sure whether to claim insurance for it or no!

Another interesting thing is that, most of the damages caused by hailstorm are not visible. And, when it is not externally visible, it does not mean that the damage is not done. For instance, if a hailstorm hits your shingle, it may develop a small bruise externally, which you may ignore. But overtime, the shingle will start losing the granules and it will deteriorate faster.

This will the lead to leakage to your home and cause further rotting of wood, black mold and other water damages to the ceiling. Since these damages don’t show up immediately, you will not be able to claim for them at a later time. You must be able to understand right at the beginning itself, whether your roof has faced a hailstorm damage.

To know this, you must go through a proper roof inspection procedure as explained below.

 

Signs to Look for During Roof Inspection

It is difficult to determine the roof damage completely, but there are some signs which will help you to identify the right spots of damage without even stepping on the roof

These signs will give you a clear idea of whether to go for a complete replacement of the roof or a simple repair.

  1. Damages on the gutters, gutter screens and downspouts

 

Most of the time, the hailstorms cause dents to the gutters and gutter screens. If you see some of them for your home, then it is a positive for the question “has hailstorm damage occurred?”. Carefully observe all the gutters, there may be even small impacts as well.

 

  1. Damage to The Windowsills, Sidings and External Metal Surfaces

 

If there is a significant damage to the roof, then there are also chances that some of these things will show impacts. The dents may not be considerably bigger. So, have a careful look at all the windowsills and casings for any dents, dings or notches.  You can also check for the damages on the metal fascia of the roof eaves because they are open to the hails.

 

  1. Damage to Air Conditioners

 

You must not leave any corner of the home while checking. A quick glance will confirm the damage done to the air conditioner. You may claim an insurance for it and get it replaced.Not only air-conditioner but you can get any of your property replaced which is covered under your insurance policy. It can be a shed, wooden decking, furniture roofs, porch, etc. You must make a note of every small damage taken place to your property.

 

  1. Damage on the Painted Wood Surfaces

 

You can look for chipped out paint surfaces on the wood as a damage due to hails. Usually, wood surfaces successfully bear smaller impacts. Once you find these signs, which ascertain you about hailstorm damage without even stepping on the roof, you can then jump on the roof to see greater signs of hailstorm impacts.

 

What kind of damages to look for on the roof?

The greater signs of hailstorm damage can be found on the chimneys, roof vents, skylights and shingles. Just like the earlier damages, here also the most damages would be dents, dings and chipped surfaces.

  1. Damage to Roof Vents

 

Carefully observe the surfaces of the roof vents for any externally visible damages like dents or bends. Also look for chipped surfaces.

 

  1. Damage to the Chimney Covers

 

The damages to the chimney covers are difficult to see. You can run a piece of chalk sideways on the surface. The chalk will spread over the surface except for the area where there is a damage due to hails. If the damages are more pronounced, it will be visible directly to the naked eye.

 

  1. Damage to the Roof Shingles

 

The most important parts to check for are the shingles. To get an insurance claim you must have at least one shingle damage. Without a shingle damage, it is difficult to get an insurance claim.  On the first sight, the damages to the shingles can go unnoticed. It takes either a careful observation from your side or a trained eye to spot the damage.The powerful hail impact knocks off the granules from the surface of the shingles. If the hails are large enough, the damages are very clear. But, the small damages can go easily unnoticed when looking at the large area. The impact of the hailstorm on the eaves on your home can be seen after a certain period of time passes away, as already discussed.  So, take your own time to look for the shingle damages. If there are wood shingles on your roof, they can get cracked right at the center and split. Such damages can be easier to spot. Next to check is the Metal Roof.

 

  1. Damages to the Metal Roof

 

The damages to the metal roof also can be like the one we saw for the gutter and gutter screens. You can look out for dents and dings. Compared to shingle damages they are easier to find out.  Another type of damage you may find on the metal roof is Hail Spatter. It is also called as Hail Splatter. Hail Splatter is caused by the hailstorm which is softer in nature. When the surface is hit by them, they remove oxidation, dust and dirt from the surface leaving a discolored stain. They serve as one of the clearestevidence of hailstorm damage on your roof. They can give you the information on the size of the hails and also their direction of flow. But they themselves as a damage are not claimable in any insurance policy.

 

  1. Damages to Other Type of Roofs

 

The other type of roofing can be wooden shakes, clay roofing or slate roofing.  Wooden shakes can get cracked just like the shingles. In case of clay roofing, hailstorms of the size more than 2 inches may chip off a surface of the tile or even break them away completely. The hails may also cause small spots on the surface which are called as gouges.

 

What must you do after a hailstorm damage?

As we have already seen, some of the damages are very critical in nature and are difficult to catch with our naked eyes. Hence, as a homeowner, it is necessary that you take the support of a professional contractor and get a free roof inspection done.

If the inspection results in the discovery that your roofing has undergone a hailstorm damage, then the next thing to be done is to file an insurance claim.

What kind of damages will be claimed, depends entirely on the nature of your policy. There are two kinds of damages done. One is functional and the other is merely a cosmetic one. Your professional contractor will help you to determine what type of damages have occurred to your home.

How to File an Insurance Claim?

To file an insurance claim you need to do the following,

  1. Note down your homeowner’s insurance policy number and check the deductible amount.

  2. Note down other details about the type of damages caused and size of hails as explained by the professional roof inspector. The details can also be in terms of photographs, videos, or damaged items themselves.

  3. Inform about the details of your insurance over a phone call. Provide them with whatever additional information they ask for.

  4. The insurer will give you a claim number

  5. You will be assigned a claim examiner. He will then check the authenticity of your photos and videos and provide you with a claim adjuster who will inspect your roof and make an estimate for the claim.

 

Roof Inspection by the Claim Inspector

 

The process of roof inspection by the claim inspector will begin with him contacting you.

You have to fix up an appointment and also call the roof inspector who had checked your roof earlier so that the claim adjuster can discuss with him and prepare a right estimate.

You must also keep all your photographs or videos of the storm ready before he comes for inspection.  A team may come along with the claim adjuster to do a proper inspection using professional equipment.

They will take photographs, do markings on the damaged areas and draw circles using chalk around the hail impacts. After the inspection is done, the claim adjuster will write a report and prepare an estimate either to repair the damaged areas or to replace the entire roof.

The report is sent to the claim examiner who will take the final decision on the claim.

The approval of the claim depends on various factors other than the severity of the damage and storm. It depends on the quality of your roof material and construction, the direction of your house with respect to the storm and the terms and conditions of your insurance company

 

What should you do?

Research!

Before going to a contractor, research well about the best people in the market. There is every information available on the internet today. The best roofing companies will never hide any sort of information from you. Their website will have all the details. Moreover, some websites of the companies will even guide you to find the right solution to your roofing problems.

You can go to the website and even read the reviews of the previous customers. You can also call on their phone numbers to ask for a legitimate license proof.