Hail Season – What to do and how to prepare

CSF Exteriors & United Insurance Agencies help you navigate hail season

Hail season can be a very stressful time for homeowners. So, CSF Exterior’s Mike Leuck sat down recently with United Insurance Agencies (UIA) agent Connie Rivera to discuss how to best navigate through the process of filing claims during hail season. They created four short video segments to help you know what to do and how to prepare should you experience a hail storm in the future.

Episode 1 – Policy Coverage

Watch the video segment – Hail Season Episode 1 – “Policy Coverage” 

In the first segment titled “Policy Coverage” they provide direction on what to ask about your coverage in the event your home receives storm damage.   

 

Connie’s Tips

As an insurance agent with United Insurance Agencies, Connie specializes in property and casualty insurance. She recommends homeowners contact their agent after a storm to ask the following:

  • What is the deductible? It is important to know how much you are responsible for paying out-of-pocket.
  • Is your deductible higher for wind and hail claims? Some policies have a different deductible depending on the type of damage, so it is good to specify. 
  • Does your policy cover your home at Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value?
    • Replacement Cost means that, minus your deductible, your home is going to be covered for replacement costs to get it back to the condition it was prior to the loss.
    • Actual Cash Value has some depreciation, so in addition to the deductible, you may end up having additional out-of-pocket expenses for repairs not covered under your policy.

 

Mike’s Tips

Mike specializes in storm restoration roofing and home exterior services with CSF Exteriors. He recommends taking the following measures to prepare your home.

  • Clear your gutters. Make sure that your gutters are working properly and that water is flowing through them out your downspouts and away from your foundation.
  • Trim your branches. During gusts of wind, branches can scrape your siding, crack your windows and even puncture your roof.
  • Prepare an emergency kit. Include things like a flashlight, first aid kit and any vital medications you take. Most importantly, have a care plan created for your pets and children.

 

Episode 2 – Filing a Claim 

Watch the video segment – Hail Season Episode 2 – “Filing a Claim”

If your house shows signs of damage after a storm, call your insurance agent immediately. What if a strong storm with wind and hail passes by but you are not sure whether your home experienced damage? It is still good to have it inspected, as not all damage has an immediate impact to the integrity of your home.

It can be concerning to think that your exterior has been damaged. Try not to panic and wait until you speak with your insurance agent. They can point you to local, reputable roofing companies like CSF Exteriors. In addition, Mike stresses that it is never a good idea to go with the first “chuck-in-a-truck” that solicits directly at your door. They often have an out-of-state license plates and appear days after a storm. Your agent wants you to use a good contractor that will do the job right and be reliable, so check with them before you make a final decision about which contractor to hire.

 

 

Episode 3 – “Reputable Contractor”

Watch the video segment – Hail Season Episode 3 – “Reputable Contractor” 

In episode 2 we touched on the importance of hiring a reputable contractor. In episode 3 Connie and Mike talk a bit more about how to determine if a contractor is reputable.

Mike shared that contractors use the industry slang term “chuck-in-a-truck” to describe an unqualified worker pretending to be a professional contractor. Beware of them. Ask for proof of their credentials. Are they licensed, insured, bonded, and listed with our local Better Business Bureau?

Another group of contracts to beware of are known as “storm chasers.” They may be a reputable company, but they are not located in the Omaha metro area. They drive in from out of town and go door-to-door after storms to drum up business. Staying in the area until the work is done, they move on to the next storm hit area or return to their home state. Mike asks what happens when you have an issue covered under warranty? More times than not, you are out of luck having the repairs made.

Whether the company is from out-of-town or local, one big warning flag is if the contractor tells you that you do not have to pay your deductible. This is simply not the case and is illegal. If you hear this pitch, it is a sign to find someone else to repair your home.

Both Connie and Mike recommend using a local company for your exterior needs. Look at their online reviews, website, social media to get a feel for their company. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau and speak to your insurance agent to find out if they deem the company to be reputable.

 

Episode 4 – “Misconceptions”

Watch the video segment – Hail Season Episode 4 – “Misconceptions”

There are many misconceptions with filing a claim. Connie and Mike go over some of the most common ones in episode 4. Let’s look at each one discussed.

  •       Your insurance will be canceled if you file a claim. Connie assures the viewer that the odds of being canceled after filing a weather-related claim are “pretty slim.” However, if the owner has other claims in addition to the weather-related loss such as water loss and theft loss then the possibility increases that they could be setting themselves up for cancellation.  
  •       Once you put in a claim, your rates will automatically increase. The answer is “possibly yes.” There are carriers that offer a “claims-free discount,” so if you file a claim, your discount may go away which results in higher premium rates. Not all carriers operate this way, so it is important to contact your agent and understand how filing a claim may affect your policy overall.

 

The best advice is to contact your insurance agent before you file a claim and walk through how it will impact your coverage, what your costs will be and if you should file. They will help you determine if it would be in your best interest to file a claim at this time. Once you file a claim, it goes on your record, and there is nothing your agent can do to remove it.

In addition to insurance misconceptions, Mike talks about the misconception that it is hail damage versus normal wear and tear. There are three common issues that homeowners can mistake as damage from a storm.

  • Blistering due to overheated attic space and inadequate roofing ventilation systems.
  • Algae
  • Granular Loss – homeowners may assume the presence of roof granules near their downspouts is a sure sign of roof damage after a storm. It could be, but it also could be that age and or overheated roof systems that are causing the increase in granule release.
         

Blistering, algae, and granular loss may not always be related to storm damage but are still signs that your roof may need repair or replacement and should be inspected before problems occur. Mike and the crew at CSF Exteriors offer free inspections and are happy to come out and look.  

 

 

Here for you!

Mike and Connie hope this information has been helpful. If you suspect that your roof or exterior has been damaged after a storm, give them a call and they will gladly walk you through the process of having it repaired. Even if you use different services, it is important to first contact your agent before filing a claim and make sure that your roofing contractor is reputable and reliable.

Contact Mike and Connie today. They are here to help.

 CSF Exteriors – Mike Leuck – mike@csfexteriors.om 402-709-3543

UIA – Connie Rivera – crivera@uiagencies.com 402-492-8020

 

Watch the video segments here:

“Policy Coverage” – Hail Season Episode 1

“Filing a Claim” – Hail Season Episode 2

“Reputable Contractor” – Hail Season Episode 3

 “Misconceptions” – Hail Season Episode 4

 

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