It is not every day that you have to file a claim and work with your insurance company. For many it will be a new experience, and one that is time sensitive. Usually a claim needs to be filed at a bad time, after an unexpected event when you may be dealing with other issues. If your home suffers damage due to hail damage, you may not know what to do. This article will help provide useful and detailed steps about reporting hail damage, submitting an insurance claim, and ultimately getting the damage fixed and back to normal.
After a storm, regardless of whether or not damage is suspected, you should inspect your property for any damage. This needs to be done right away. Recording and documenting any damage is very important to a successful claim submission, so you will need to have a copy of your insurance policy and a camera or other video recording device.
Steps to follow for a claim
1) Inspect the property for damage. Both an interior and exterior inspection should be made. Take photographs or video of any suspected damage. Collect any debris that has come off the home or that has been blown onto the property. Be sure to document and get pictures of any hail since this will melt. You may be able to collect hail samples in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer, or at least photograph the hail next to a ruler to document the size. Be sure to document the date and time of the storm.
2) Take temporary measures to prevent additional damage from occurring to the property, but do not make long term repairs. Tarps or plastic covers can be used to keep water and the elements from getting in causing additional damage. Be sure to document and track receipts for material and temporary repairs necessary to cover holes in the windows or roof. If the damage is severe enough to make the dwelling unsafe or uninhabitable, be sure to record and keep all temporary lodging receipts. Keep all materials and don’t throw anything out until it is documented by the adjuster.
3) Review the insurance policy so that you understand what the coverage is. Note any procedures or time limits for filing a claim.
4) Contact your insurance company (within 48 hours of the storm). Report the damage and begin the claim process. Make sure you know your policy number and provide the details and descriptions of the damage. Record names, phone numbers and the claim number assigned to your claim.
5) Get a damage appraisal – ask the insurance company about the process to get an appraisal, get a timeframe for how long it will take to process the claim. Complete claim forms as quickly as possible. If you are responsible for getting a cost estimate for the damage, it is a good idea to get at least two repair estimates.
6) Other homeowners in the area may be filing similar claims so schedule appointments quickly. Work with the claim adjuster to provide as much detail as possible