Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Hail Damage?

When severe hail causes damage to roofing materials, we often wonder… Does homeowners insurance cover hail damage?  The answer, as is often the case when dealing with insurance, is that it depends!  In this roofing guide, we’ll take a look at the issue of hail damage and insurance coverage.

Is Hail Damage Covered?

The good news is that hail damage to your roof is covered in most homeowners policies.  In rare cases, it has be be included in a special rider, but under most typical homeowners policies damage from hail is one of the covered issues.

However, this does not mean that your insurer will fork over the money cover the cost of an entirely new roof.  Your policy will spell out the guidelines for paying for hail damage. First of all, it must be documented by an insurance adjuster that the damage to your roof is caused by hail.  They won’t take the word of roofing contractors for it.  Take time to inspect your roof after a hail storm and if you suspect hail damage, take pictures of the damage, cover the roof to prevent further damage from rain, and then call your insurance company immediately.

Secondly, the damage must be widespread.  Some policies claim that a certain number of damaging hail strikes per square of roof (a 10’x10′) section have to be present — which averages between 12 and 16 in most policies.

Thirdly, the value of the damage must be higher than the deductible. If you have a $1,000 deductible, the insurance company won’t pay you $800 to cover damage to your roof.  From your perspective, if your deductible is $1,000 and the cost of repairs is $1,500, you might want to pay the repairs yourself rather than filing a claim and risking increased insurance premiums.  The key is to understand your policy ahead of time and know what to expect if you file a claim.  In some instances, you may want a roofer to look at your roof before you call the insurance company to file a claim.

Finally, if the insurance company is going to cover any damage, it will likely be on a partial basis.  No insurance company will pay the replacement cost of a roof that is 15 years old that has been damaged by hail. Most likely, they will assess the value of the roof in the condition before the hail storm and pay you that amount.

What about Damage After the Fact

If hail damages your roof and you do not take action to cover it, your home will be at risk for more damage from later rains.  If you don’t take reasonable steps to avoid damage from later storms, your insurance company may deny any claims for secondary damage.  If the hail damage occurs during a storm that also causes secondary damage, that damage is usually covered.

Finally, most insurance policies have very clear guidelines regarding hail damage.  Knowing what yours says will give you the information you need to know your options and to make the best decision possible.

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