Texas Hail Damage Claim Guide
Houston, TX – Texas leads the nation for the highest number of hail events registered each year, and the damages are huge. In 2021, for instance, there were 688 major hail events in Texas, with hailstones of one inch or higher in diameter. According to recent statistics, Texas also had the highest number of properties affected by hail, over 1.5 million houses. Texas and Colorado account for more than a third (37%) of all the hail insurance claims in the country. Overall, the hail season leaves behind damages between $8 and $14 billion per year. If your house is ever hit by a hail storm you need to know exactly what to do if you want to recover full damages. Here are the most important steps:
Document the Scene
Once the storm dies down and you can break cover safely, get outside and start taking pictures. If there are hailstones in the garden, take a few wide-angle shots to capture the scale of the devastation. Carefully pick up some of the larger stones and take individual photos. Place a ruler or an easily measurable object next to the stone so you have proof of how big the stones were. Some homeowners wonder whether they should keep hailstones in the freezer to submit as proof, but that is not necessary. If it was a major event, the Texas weather service will make a full report indicating the size of the hailstones that fell from the sky and this should be enough for insurance purposes.
Check for Damage to the House
Start with the exterior walls and windows. Take pictures of the damage, such as dents or broken items. Your biggest worry, however, will be your roof. If it’s safe to do so, you can climb up to the roof to take a few pictures, but what you need is an expert’s opinion. Even if you don’t see major damage to the roof, call a professional and let them have a look. Sometimes, minor damage can lead to a leak which can cause major damage over time.
Notify the Insurance Company
You should notify your insurer as soon as possible. The company must send an inspector to the house to assess the damages and this is where the first problem may appear. If the insurance guy’s opinion differs from that of the roofer, take it as a sign they’ll try to deny your claim or vastly reduce the value of your claim. For instance, the company inspector may find there’s only ‘cosmetic damage’ to the shingles and they won’t pay for that. Don’t waste any time and talk to a skilled Texas hail damage claims lawyer. They’ll probably recommend contacting an independent adjuster so you get a second opinion. Submit all the documentation required to the insurer and wait for their decision. They have 15 days to study your file and accept or deny your claim.
Don’t take No for an Answer
If you disagree with their settlement offer or if they deny your claim outright, your lawyers will help you gather even more proof and file an appeal. The company is required by law to consider your appeal. Schedule a meeting with the insurance adjuster and make sure to bring your insurance claims lawyer with you. When threatened with a lawsuit, most insurance companies will prefer to settle to avoid a public trial where their not-quite-legal practices may be exposed. Also, if they lose a trial, they’ll have to pay you interest on the money they owed you, your legal fees, and sometimes even punitive damages.
Source: Insurance Information Institute – Facts + Statistics: Hail
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