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Don’t Delay: Filing A Timely Hail Damage Claim

A roof that includes chalk outlines of where hail fell and caused damage.

When a hail storm hits, many homeowners’ first thought is “what damage did it do to my home?” From roofs to siding to windows – hail can cause some serious damage. But, if you have adequate home owner’s insurance you can breathe a sigh of relief. BUT! You do not want to delay when it comes to making a claim.

Below we outline 5 steps to take immediately if you suspect there is hail damage to your home.


1. Contact a Contractor

This should be your first step if you are uncertain if there is damage. If you simply submit a claim to the insurance company with no knowledge if the roof is damaged or not, you now have a claim on your claims record, even if no damage is found. Call a roofing contractor to come out and inspect the roof as soon as you can so you can proceed with filing a claim in a timely manner if damage is indeed found. Many contractors will do this for free, so do not delay if finances are of a concern.

2. Notify Your Insurance Company

If damage is found, notify your insurance company right away. Depending on your coverage, it can take some time to research and pay-out so you want to make the claim as soon as you can. If your claim occurred because of storm damage, it’s likely that other homes in the area were also affected. That means there will be more claims and greater demand on your insurer. Submitting a claim immediately can help get you close to the front of the line. Also, AND IMPORTANTLY, most insurance companies now have a time limit on when a claim can be submitted. This is typically one or two years from the date the damage occurred. If you submit a claim after the time limit has expired it will most likely be denied.

3. Document the Damage

If it takes time for a professional to come to your home, you will want to document the damage on your own. However, you will want to make sure that you do not physically get on your roof as this could cause further damage that may not be covered by your insurance. Take as many photos as possible before any clean-up efforts needed for your home to be livable.

4. Begin Repairs

If your damage is extreme, don’t delay in making any repairs necessary. Once you have documented the damage, go ahead and begin the repair process. Whether it’s stopping a leak or boarding up a broken window, stopgap repairs can prevent further issues and save time and money. If you don’t take steps to fix an immediate problem and the insurer thinks you could have, you might not be fully covered. Say you don’t board up a broken window and someone climbs through and steals a TV. Your insurance company might not pay for it.

5. Track Expenses

If you do proceed with temporary repairs before receiving a payment from your insurance company, you will want to maintain a record of all your out of pocket costs. As long as you keep receipts, you can submit the expenses to your insurer as part of the claim. Even if you do receive a payment from your insurer upfront, you will still want to maintain a solid record of all your expenses. Often the initial payout does not cover the final total for all repairs, if you want to get paid back in full, you’ll need to prove what you actually spent.

Chastain Otis is here to help

The most important thing to remember is that your insurance broker is here to help! For more information about your options, contact Chastain Otis Insurance Agency today. We will support you through the claims process for your home insurance policy.

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