Category: Home Ownership checklist

Hail Damage to Roofs, Cars and What Insurance Covers

Nearly every state in the U.S. has hailstorms. In fact, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Severe Storms database, there were 4,611 major hailstorms in 2020.1 And if you live in Texas, Colorado, Nebraska or Wyoming, you probably see hail frequently. But do you know how to handle hail as a homeowner? And if there is damage to your property or your vehicle, do you know if you’re covered by your homeowners and auto insurance?

Hailstorms can be worrisome to say the least. According to global professional services firm AON, damage from hail in the last decade has cost between $8 billion to $14 billion dollars a year.2 That’s why it’s so important for homeowners to carry insurance that protects their property from hail damage and know what to do after a storm.

To help, we’ve put together a checklist for you to follow if your home gets hit by hail. Keep this info handy so you can reference it during an emergency. It’ll give you the instructions you need—at a time when it may be a challenge to remember these important steps.

Step 1: Safely inspect the property.

The storm has passed, and you’re ready to venture outside. It’s important for you to safely examine your property for damage. As you head outdoors, it’s recommended to:

  • Wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes and gloves
  • Be on the lookout for broken glass, sharp objects and exposed wires
  • Beware of fallen trees, branches, power lines and other debris3

While you’re outside, take photos of any hail damage that has occurred. Doing so will help you keep accurate records and explain the damage to your insurer.
 

Walsingham says, “Even problems that may seem minor, like broken shingles, can make a roof more vulnerable during a hailstorm.”

 
For example, you’ll want to document:

  • The location of the damage
  • The size of the hail if there are hailstones remaining
  • The time and date of the storm

If you can’t inspect your roof on your own, or if you think there may be damage, call a professional for assistance. According to Amy Walsingham, Property Claims Manager at Amica, your insurance company usually can help you find a professional. “Amica, for example, offers Contractor Connection®, a service that provides a carefully matched contractor to help the customer assess and repair damages,” she says.4

Step 2: Call your insurance company to report hail damage.

Next, call your insurance company immediately to report hail damage. The sooner you call and open a claim, the better.5 This is also a good time to review your homeowners policy to find out what dwelling coverage you have available.

For example, you’ll want to know if you have a Replacement Cost Value policy or an Actual Cash Value policy. Here’s the difference:6

  • Replacement Cost Value (RCV):

    This type of coverage pays for the full cost to repair or replace a roof or other property that has been damaged following a hailstorm (up to the limit shown on your policy Declarations Page). Typically, premiums for RCV policies are higher, but if you need to use your policy, you’ll only have to pay up to your deductible to replace or repair your property.

  • Actual Cash Value (ACV):

    ACV policies have lower premiums and pay for damages equal to the replacement cost of the property minus depreciation (ACV = replacement cost – depreciation). With ACV coverage, your insurer will pay for the current value of your roof at the time it was damaged. If your roof is older and has depreciated in value, you’ll receive a reimbursement based on its current value factoring in depreciation from year to year and its current condition. It will be less than the cost to fully replace your roof.

Also, make sure to ask your insurer if you have exclusions on your policy. For example, here are a couple of exclusions to keep in mind:4

  • Cosmetic damage exclusion endorsement from wind and hail:

    Sometimes hail causes minor damage that doesn’t prevent your roof from working properly. Instead, it’s damage that impacts the roof’s appearance. If this happens, your roof still sheds water correctly, and you have this exclusion on your policy, you may not be entitled to payment.

  • Windstorm and hail exclusion endorsement:

    Some homeowners policies exclude damage due to windstorms and hail. This means that damage caused by hail isn’t covered. Find out right away if your policy has a windstorm and hail exclusion—and then budget appropriately.

Want to learn more about homeowners insurance coverage and possible exclusions on your policy? Take our quiz.

Step 3: Clean up your property.

Once you’ve called your insurer, it’s time to clean up your property. Most likely, you’ll need to hire a contractor, especially if you have roof damage. If you do hire help to clean up debris or make any temporary repairs, keep all of your receipts for your insurance company’s records.

While you wait for official repair work, you and other professionals can proactively prevent further damage to your home by:4

  • Boarding up windows if there’s broken glass
  • Adding a tarp to your roof to prevent further water damage
  • Sweeping up glass and other broken objects outside
  • Drying out items that have gotten wet

If hail has caused major damage, make every effort to have a contractor visit your home right away. Remember, your insurance company may be able to help you find a contractor if you need one.

Step 4: Check your vehicle for damage.

If your vehicle was parked outside during a hailstorm, it may have sustained hail damage. If you find damage, take multiple photos and then open a claim with your auto insurance company.

The best course of action, however, is to prevent hail damage to your car before it occurs. If you know a storm is coming, store your vehicle in covered parking, like a garage or carport. If this isn’t an option,  find temporary shelter in a nearby parking garage, or cover your car with thick blankets secured with paint-safe tape.7

Above all, make sure you have comprehensive auto coverage on your vehicle. This type of insurance can help pay for damage that’s caused by wind, hail, falling objects and more.4

Step 5: Prevent damage from a future storm.

Once the storm has passed and life is back to normal, you’ll want to take steps to prevent future hail damage. This is especially important if you live in an area where hail is more likely to occur, like Texas, Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming.

Here are some preventive actions you can take before the next storm occurs (the latter two if hail is in the forecast):

  • Trim trees and shrubbery.
  • Clear gutters and drains of leaves and debris.
  • Regularly maintain your roof and repair damage.
  • Invest in impact-resistant shingles (class 3 and 4), which can better withstand hail.
  • Draw the drapes or close window coverings to block debris from a hail-shattered window.
  • Inspect and maintain your chimney, and make sure you can close the damper, if needed.
  • Store outdoor patio furniture and lawn décor.
  • Draw the drapes or close window coverings to block debris from a hail-shattered window.

Walsingham says, “Even problems that may seem minor, like broken shingles, can make a roof more vulnerable during a hailstorm.” It’s important to regularly inspect your roof and keep it in good condition. She also emphasizes tree and lawn care. “Hail can crack tree branches. You’ll want to remove any branches that are weak, close to windows or hanging over a roof.”4

Remember, if you’re proactive about protecting your property, you can lessen the impact of a severe hailstorm. And, if you have the right insurance coverage, you can get financial help to restore your home and protect it from future damage. Hailstorms can happen anytime—no matter where you live. Prepare now and enjoy the peace of mind of knowing you’re prepared.

   

  • NOAA Severe Storms Database, 2020.
  • AON Annual Report, 2019.
  • Tornados. FEMA Tornadoes Fact Sheet. n.d.
  • Interview with Amy Walsingham, Property Claims Manager at Amica.
  • What to Do After a Damaging Spring Storm, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, n.d
  • Roof insurance: ACV versus replacement cost, 2020.
  • How to Protect your Car from Hail, Accuweather.com.

Want to learn more about Amica home insurance? Call today for a free personalized consultation.

833-513-3881 833-513-3882