Texas has one of the highest incidents of hail damage. Areas across the state have been pounded by severe hail, including: McAllen, Austin, and Dallas-Fort Worth in North Texas. The hailstorm lawyers at Ketterman, Rowland and Westlund have compiled a list of best practices property owners should take if they are affected by a Texas-sized hailstorm. Always take precautions during the stormy seasons, and know your rights.
What to Do After a Hail Storm
If you find yourself in the path of a hailstorm—don’t go out and try to protect your property. Your most valuable possession is your health, and you could be injured even in a minor hail event. After the storm passes, here are few guidelines to follow to ensure you weather the storm as easily as possible.
The first thing you should do is write down the date of the storm. This seems obvious, but it may be important a year or more down the road. The ability to pinpoint the exact date the storm occurred and prove it against a weather database is a critical detail if your insurer fails to meet their obligation to you.
Examine your trees, shrubs, and other plants in your yard. Any signs of stripped foliage from plants are an indicator of potential roof damage. Look at the vents on your roof for signs of dents or other damage. Check your vehicles for dents or cracked glass.
- Carefully walk around your house, and examine any metals on your home. For example, your home’s fascia and down spouts may be metal. Look for any dents to these surfaces.
- Additionally, if your car indicates hail damage, it’s likely your roof was damaged too.
- Document any damage you find with photographs, and put all the photos in a safe place.
Prevent further damage to your property.
If you discover signs that hail has damaged your property, take immediate steps to protect it from further damage.
- Cover broken windows and holes in your roof to prevent water from entering and damaging the interior of your home.
- Cover any broken windows in your car to prevent damage to the interior and remove broken glass to prevent cuts to the upholstery.
File your claim
- If you discover any hail damage, or if you believe there is a possibility of hail damage, call your insurance company as soon as possible. Most homeowner’s policies cover hail damage.
- If your agent or insurer requests a written explanation of what happened, do so as soon as possible to prevent delays processing your claim. Please note though that your insurance is required to meet certain time deadlines in order to request a written explanation (“Proof of Loss”) from you.
- Save all receipts for items purchased (plywood, tarps, etc.) to prevent and protect your property from further damage. Be sure to submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.
- Only allow the insurance adjuster and contractors get up on your roof. Every additional step on the roof risks further damage.
Selecting a repair company
Sadly, finding a reputable contractor to repair your property damage can be as forbidding as the storm that created the damage. Here are a few tips:
- Select a reputable roofing company to make repairs. It’s a good idea to select an established company and local references. Word of mouth is your best guide.
- Be wary of out-of-town roofers. These contractors move into an area and set up shop following a storm. While some of these firms are reputable, some collect money from homeowners and move on to the next storm without paying suppliers and/or leaving repairs unfinished. Don’t get left holding the bag for those additional costs.
- Be sure your contractor has workers compensation and liability insurance. If they don’t, you may be liable if a worker is injured, or if they damage a neighbor’s property. Ask the contractor to provide you with a certificate of liability insurance.Reputable, reliable contractors never blink when this request is made.
- Don’t make final payment until your roof (or other work) has been inspected and you are satisfied all the repairs are completed properly.
Hopefully, your home will never suffer any storm damage. Hopefully, if it ever is damaged by a storm, your insurer will honor its obligation and reimburse you for all damage incurred. Hopefully, your contractor will honor their obligation and repair your home promptly and professionally. The KRW Storm Team can’t prevent storms from damaging your home, but after the storm, if your insurance company isn’t meeting their obligation, call us for a free consultation.