What should I do after a hailstorm?
That sudden “thunk” on a summer evening can turn a sunny day into a real downer. Hailstorms are a fact of life in many areas, but there are specific steps you can take after a hail event to begin the repair process and stay in compliance with your Hail Insurance policy.
What Steps Can I Take When the Clouds Part?
The most important step is to ensure you and your family’s safety – hailstorms may be accompanied by high winds or even Tornadoes, so be sure to stay tuned to local weather stations in case worsening conditions are coming.
Once it is safe, inspect your home(s) and vehicle(s) for damage. Take pictures of the damage, and move personal belongings away from vulnerable areas. Temporary, emergency repairs can prevent further damage – such as boarding up broken windows, drying wet carpet or putting tarps over leaky areas.
Any larger repairs need to be done by a licensed contractor and inspected by an insurance claims adjuster in order for a claim to be paid out. That’s why it’s a good idea to notify your insurance agent of the damage once the storm has passed – they can guide you through the next steps. Share any photos you have of the damage with them.
As you make repairs and take photos of damage – or if you are unable to stay in your home during repairs – save your receipts. Some (though not all) expenses related to the storm – such as repairs, temporary housing and other living expense – may be eligible for reimbursement after required deductibles are met.
Who Can I Trust to Repair Hail Damage?
Hail Storm Events can cause a lot of damage in a short amount of time, concentrated in a small area. This type of situation can be very attractive to less-than-trustworthy outfits.
We suggest that you ONLY use local, reputable contractors – beware of companies or people who show up and offer to assess and fix damage for an up-front fee in cash.
If using a local contractor isn’t possible, consider the following tips:
Tips when choosing a contractor after a hail storm:
- Check references, and confirm the business or person is licensed through your state’s Deparment of Labor or similar authority. This may include asking your insurance agent if a contractor is reputable.
- Don’t pay in-full up front, and never pay in cash.
- Do not sign over your insurance settlement checks.
- Don’t be pressured or fall for one-day-only specials or discounts for hiring on the spot – if they don’t want to give you time to check their references, there is usually a reason.
- It is illegal in many states, including Nebraska, for a contractor to “waive” the homeowner’s deductible on a hail claim. This is considered insurance fraud, and the homeowner can be held equally accountable legally.
- Contact our agency with any questions or further clarification. Your insurance agent is just that – YOUR AGENT, and is there to help you get through these tough times.