Did the recent hailstorms in and around Dane county take you by surprise? Statistically, we were due for hail last month, when March was supposed to “come in like a lion.” Even if it had, your average Wisconsin March rarely “goes out like a lamb.” And our Aprils are no walk on the beach either.
April is one of four peak months in our area for hail damage (the others being March, May, and June). And our portion of the state actually sees more frequent damaging hail than the rest of Wisconsin, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Before the next storm—right now, if you have time—we encourage you to review your homeowner’s insurance policy on hail damage. Don’t be surprised if it’s changed. Insurance companies are sick of hail claims.
No roof for you!
A 2012 study published by the National Insurance Crime Bureau showed that hail-related claims had spiked 84 percent over the preceding two years. Those finding rippled through the insurance world like an underwater earthquake. The tidal wave crashing ashore could hit your wallet hard. Here’s why:
- Some insurers no longer pay for a roof’s replacement value and now pay only the cash value for damage. This means anything but a new roof will get a reduced settlement, often by thousands of dollars.
- Some insurers will cover hail damage only on roofs that are under a certain age, one not anywhere near your roofing material’s average life expectancy.
- Some insurers who previously didn’t have hail deductibles on their policies now have them.
- Some insurers now exclude cosmetic damage from hail. They won’t pay a lick for things like dents. You’ll have to live with a dimpled house or pay for repairs/replacement yourself.
- Some insurers will pay to replace only a portion of a roof, which can result in your home having an unsightly patch where shingles don’t match in color.
- Read the declaration page of your policy. Call your insurance agent.
Time to kick your insurer to the curb?
Review your policy or, better yet, hop on the phone with your agent before the next hailstone falls. (While you’ve got them on the line, be sure to ask them if they offer a discount for using storm-resistant roofing or siding.) You could discover it’s time to start shopping for a new insurer, as many have maintained the old-school policies that really have you covered in the event of hail.
Remember, a good rule of thumb with hail is that, if the stone is bigger than an olive, it poses a threat to your home. Don’t assume its damage will be detectable from the ground or even to your naked eye if you climb atop your house. If you’re not trained to spot it, some types of hail damage are easy to miss. Have your roof professionally inspected after any potentially damaging hail. We can help!