Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Hail Damage?
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If you live in an area that gets hail, you’re familiar with the way it can take its toll. Even a storm of small hailstones the size of peas can be enough to wreak havoc on your garden. Sizeable hailstones are a different story. Over the last 20 years, these spheres of ice falling from the sky have done an estimated average of $8 to $14 billion of damage each year.
Several of those billions of dollars of damage stems from hail’s impact on roofs. If you’re a homeowner living in a hail-prone area like Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska or South Dakota, you’re probably wondering if your homeowners insurance provider will pick up the tab for undoing roof hail damage. Let’s take a look at how your policy can step in after a serious hail storm.
Homeowners insurance and hail damage
Your homeowners insurance coverage does protect your roof. Your roof’s protection is outlined in the dwelling coverage, or Coverage A, section of your policy. This is the part of your policy that protects the structure of your house.
Your policy only covers specific types of roof damage. We often hear the question, “Does homeowners insurance cover roof leaks?” It depends. If your roof is leaking because it was damaged by something listed in your policy, yes. If it’s leaking because of normal wear and tear, you’re on your own.
The instances in which your policy will kick in to cover the cost of roof damage will be outlined under a heading titled something like “Covered Perils.” This section should include things like fire, theft and certain storms, including hail and windstorms.
Read your home insurance policy to understand exactly when roof damage will be covered. The vast majority of policies step in to offer roof insurance after a hail storm, but some insurers have restrictions around this coverage, especially if you live in a hail-prone area. When it is covered, you can expect to pay a deductible before the provider helps pay for the rest of the damage.
Wind and hail deductible
A deductible is the amount of an insured loss that you pay. If a thief steals $5,000 of stuff from your home and you have a $1,000 deductible, you cover the deductible and your home insurer gives you $4,000.
In addition to the standard deductible outlined in your policy, you may also be subject to a wind and hail deductible. Insurers increasingly include these situation-specific deductibles for homeowners in high-risk areas to try to mitigate the risk they take on agreeing to protect your roof against hail and windstorms. You’re more likely to have a wind and hail deductible if you live in a coastal, hurricane-prone area, but check your policy. If you have a wind and hail deductible, make sure it’s an amount you can comfortably cover.
Unlike the set dollar amount deductible for the rest of your policy, wind and hail deductibles are usually set at a percentage (often 1-5 percent) of your home’s value. If your home is worth $350,000 and you have a wind and hail deductible of 2 percent, you’ll pay $7,000 out-of-pocket to repair your roof.
What to do immediately after a hail storm
Gather evidence right after the hail damage occurred to make filing your claim as easy as possible.
Start a document on a piece of paper, on a computer or on your phone to gather details about your roof damage. Note the date and time of the storm. Grab a tape measure, find the biggest hailstone you can and write down its diameter. Walk around your house and make notes about anything else that was damaged by the hail. If you have an exterior A/C unit, for example, check it.
As you go, take pictures. Snap pictures of all the damage you see and grab a picture of the hailstone with your tape measure. You’re gathering evidence to show your insurance provider that the damage to your roof was caused by hail. Do this before the hailstones have time to start melting.
Next, call your insurance agent. Tell them about the storm. Ask them to walk you through the claims process so you know what to expect and if there’s any additional information you should gather.
Will your homeowners insurance cover hail damage for your roof? Almost definitely. The dwelling portion of your policy (Coverage A) includes your roof because it’s an integral part of your home.
- Read your policy to make sure hail storms are listed under your cover perils
- Review your deductibles and see if you have a specific wind and hail deductible. If so, make sure you can pay it.
Take these steps and act fast to document evidence after a hail storm. Do these things and you should have no trouble getting your home insurer to provide the roof insurance you need to make the necessary repairs after a hailstorm.