How does a hail damage claim work?

The dwelling coverage portion of your homeowners insurance covers hail damage to the house itself. This is Coverage A on your policy. Hail damage to a fence, detached garages or shed is covered by other structures, Coverage B, on your home policy.

You’ll be subject to any deductibles on your policy. In some cases, a separate windstorm deductible or hail deductible may apply. These deductibles can range from 1-5% of your home’s dwelling limit. 

Your home is covered at replacement cost on a standard HO-3 home insurance policy. With this type of coverage, claim checks are sent in stages. Once the insurance company has approved the claim, you will receive an initial check for the depreciated value of the damaged areas minus the deductible. This can be used to pay a deposit to the contractor.

Once the work is done and the final replacement cost is known, the insurance company will pay the remainder of the amount due. This is known as recoverable depreciation.

If you have damage to personal property, such as patio furniture, it will be covered as well. However, personal property is usually covered at actual cash value unless you have added personal property replacement cost coverage to your policy.

Should you file a claim for hail damage?

Hail damage can be quite costly. Large hail stones can damage a roof enough to cause water leaks and allows pests to get in. Even smaller hail can cause issues, but be wary of exclusions on your insurance policy for cosmetic issues.

“As hail claims become more frequent, insurance companies are adding exclusions like the cosmetic damage exclusion,” says Jake Jones, owner and agent at North Wyoming Insurance. “This applies when the exterior of the home is damaged, but still functions. It is most common on structures with metal roofs.” 

If the damage is less than your deductible, you probably don’t want to file a claim. If you aren’t sure, always enlist the help of a professional. 

How to file a hail damage claim

After a hail storm, call your insurance company to file a claim right away. Many insurance companies have a 24-hour hotline, and you can usually also file claims online or via their mobile apps.

These are the steps you need to follow:

  • Call the insurance company right away to notify them of your damage and to start the claim.
  • Do simple, temporary repairs to prevent further damage to your home, like putting up tarps and boarding up windows.
  • Take pictures and videos of the damage.
  • Work with your assigned claims adjuster to meet all deadlines.
  • Hire reputable contractors to give repair estimates and perform work.

“Have all your documentation ready when you file the claim. In most instances hail damage claims can affect many customers in a small area,” Jones says. “ Adjusters will be spread thin and claims can take what may feel like a long time to settle. The more information you can provide at once to your adjuster helps them process your claim more quickly.”

“Give as many contact options as possible,” he says. “ Claims adjusters can notify you via phone, email and even text. The more flexible you are in communicating the easier it will be for the adjuster.” 

This will help you avoid missing deadlines and keep the claims process moving along swiftly.

How to claim hail damage on your roof

If your roof sustains hail damage, you may want to check your roof warranty, if available, as a starting point. Do this in conjunction with filing your claim with the insurance company. The warranty might cover certain things that the insurance company won’t and vice versa. 

Hail causes specific damage to asphalt shingles versus the wood structures of the roof. The insurance adjuster will determine what was and wasn’t caused by the hail. Keep in mind the insurance company will only cover the portion that’s damaged, not necessarily the whole roof.

“Insureds should be aware that if hail only damages a part of the home the company has no responsibility to replace the undamaged portion,” Jones says. “For example if hail damages one side of a home’s exterior the company only has to replace that portion, which could lead to some of the home’s appearance not matching.”

However, some policies include a matching clause, which requires the company to replace all of the roof, siding or other damage material if it’s not possible to repair it to match.

How long after hail damage can you file a claim?

In most cases, you have up to one year to file a claim for hail damage. Some states even extend that to two years. Check with your state’s guidelines and also your insurance carrier. You should never wait that long, however. 

Waiting too long to file a hail damage claim can result in a denial. One of the biggest reasons is that you must prove that the damage was truly caused by that particular hail storm. The more time that passes, the harder it is to tell what exactly caused the damage to your home. Any further issues with your roof or siding can be seen as neglect by your insurance carrier and result in a denial.

What happens if the adjuster says there’s no hail damage?

You’ll be assigned an adjuster who works on behalf of the insurance company. It’s a good idea to have a very experienced contractor who knows all about hail damage to negotiate on your behalf. The contractor can prove the damage was from hail and not something else, which is something the adjuster will be closely looking at.

If the adjuster says there’s no hail damage but you and your contractor say there is, you can escalate to a manager at the insurance company and appeal the decision. You don’t have to accept a denial. This is where all your documentation and the contractor’s expertise will aid in presenting your case for an appeal.

You also have the option of hiring a public adjuster to negotiate with the insurance company for you, to ensure you get all of the claim money you are entitled to.