Networx: Hail damage and your homeowners insurance

Laura Firszt More Content Now
Even the smallest hail storm can cause major damage to your home. [Caption: By User:59Ballons (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

A hailstorm is quite a sight to behold. Spheres of ice suddenly start falling from the sky — no matter what the season or what the temperature may be outdoors. Although a hailstorm usually lasts only a few minutes, it can cause tremendous damage to your property, because hailstones tend to fall with such force. Find out more about hail damage and how it can affect your home.

About hail damage

Hail Damage: Homeowners Insurance Dos and Don’ts

DON’T go outside during a hailstorm to check the state of your roof, siding, etc.; you’ll be putting yourself at risk.

DO look for any hail damage as soon as the storm is finished. (See the list below.)

DON’T panic. Hail damage is covered by virtually all homeowners insurance policies.

DO contact your insurance provider and let them know about the hail damage ASAP.

DO take photos of all damaged areas of your home and make detailed notes.

DON’T try to walk around on your roof to check for hail damage. Roofing that has been struck by hail could be unstable.

DON’T throw out receipts for any expense, even temporary measures (like covering broken windows with plastic). You may be able to get compensation.

DON’T bother filing a claim if the total repair cost is equal to, or slightly more than, your deductible. You’ll likely end up raising your homeowners insurance premium.

Look for these signs of hail damage

Roof. Your roofing is particularly vulnerable to hail damage, so much that roofs in hail-prone regions need replacement every 7-10 years, rather than the typical 20-year lifespan. From the ground, look for split wood shingles, or asphalt shingles that have lost granules or are shiny, blackened, or dented. Whatever your type of roofing, watch for missing shingles or actual roof punctures. (Ouch!)

Windows. Obviously the glass of your windows (or skylights) could be cracked or shattered due to a hailstorm, but be sure to check the condition of your screens, frames, sills, and awnings as well.

Air conditioning system. Your A/C’s outside component, the condenser unit, may be harmed by falling hailstones, particularly the coil and fins. As a result, the air conditioning may function less effectively or stop working altogether.