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Hail damage = homeowner VS insurance company
Old 07-13-2013, 06:28 AM   #1
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Hail damage = homeowner VS insurance company

I was out of town recently for w*rk and when I returned home the DW commented on a large storm including some fairly large hail that passed through when I was gone. I didn't think much about it at the time. A few weeks later there was a phone call from a company advising that homes in the area suffered hail damage and that they would come out to do an inspection. We declined at the time. We later got a mailer, maybe from the same company as the phone call, maybe a different company, they claim a high rating on Angie's List, BBB etc. This time I thought what would it hurt to have it checked over, so an appointment was set up and the inspection was made early this week.

The inspection found some moderate hail damage and the company suggested we file an insurance claim. DW called our independent insurance agent to get some input. His general attitude was that these are "fly by night" companies and his suggestion was that we get a "second opinion" before filing a claim. DW said, OK, but you recommend a roofing company that you do not consider "fly by night". He recommened a company, the inspection by this company took place yesterday.

This latest inspector also said there was some hail damage but there appeared to also be some older hail damage. While he suggested we go ahead and file a claim, he seemed to be a bit skeptical about what an insurance adjuster would feel was an appropriate settlement due to the amount of damage and the age of the roof. He said that insurance companies are now pro-rating their coverage bassed upon the age of the roof. He said we could probably expect 5 more years out of the roof if we did nothing.

I expect that if we file the claim it is guaranteed that our yearly homeowner's premium will increase at the least, or they may even drop us. If it matters I have been paying homeowner's insurance for 40 years and I have never filed a claim in all that time. However, I have only been with this insurance company for about 5 years.

Does anyone have any experience with hail damage and dealing with the insurance company? I would appreciate your thoughts. I am debating whether I should even file the claim. Some pertinent details, the roof on the house 17 years old, they were supposed to be 30 year shingles. Insurance company in Encompass. The last quote that I saw was just shy of $12,000.00 to replace the roof.
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:12 AM   #2
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This happens a lot in Florida. Roofing companies and independent assessor scour neighborhoods after storms, going from house to house, looking for damages that can be submitted, either to generate new roofing business or get a % of the claim.

There may be no rush. Ask the agent how long you have to submit a claim. It could be a couple of years. Another question for the agent; would a new roof lower the total premium cost? A claim doesn't always lead to a premium increase, but even if it does it shouldn't be so much that it would equal the claim amount.
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:12 AM   #3
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There are a lot of storm chasing companies out there that will always find damage. After a large hailstorm we thought we saw damage (chasers said so but their inspection was cursory at best). We called our ins company and they sent out an inspector even though we didn't file a claim. They could see the damage from the ground, but on inspection on the roof, it was paint fading and no damage. Turns out our siding was steel and resistant to damage. Our roof was less than 5 years old and no damage. My brother lives about 12 miles from me. The same storm did more damage with trees down, etc. The same ins company paid for a new roof and complete residing of his 20 year old house. Earlier this summer the ins company sent a notice that they would no longer re-side or re-shingle an entire house, only the damaged area. That is a huge change as before it was based on appearance and they routinely did the whole house. The value of the work and material they did on my brother's house was in excess of $50,000. I do not think it changed his premium. I would call your agent and talk with them. I wouldn't think you would have to file a claim to have it inspected by a crew they pick.
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:41 AM   #4
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This happened to me about 8-10 years ago. We were out of town when a bad hail storm came thru. I didnt think anything of it until I saw house after house in my neighborhood getting new roofs. I didnt get solicited like you did, but I did go up on my roof and look around. Everything looked fine to me so I forgot about it. Then even more houses got new roofs so I called my insurance company to get my roof inspected. The inspector said I needed a new roof, which proves that I don't know anything about roofs since I thought it was fine. I got a new roof, which if believe was around $6-8k back then. I can't say exactly how it affected my premiums, but I know for sure that they didn't jump an alarming amount. I would've remembered that. I definitely came out ahead in the deal.
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:04 AM   #5
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I'm going through this right now, although the hail damage in my local area was beyond reasonable doubt (1.5-2+" hail event per NWS web site). I had lots of very annoying door-to-door roofer sales traffic for weeks after. My impression is that the best roofers have plenty of work, and most poor (even scammer) roofers are door-to-door soliciting types. Roofer we ended up using was BBB complaint-free, A-rated Angie's List (though I've been burned by "top-rated" AL firm before), and had long track record with our insurance company.

It is my understanding that some homeowner's insurance is pro-rata for roofing claims unless one specifically has more expensive full replacement coverage. There's also code-upgrade provisions which, IIRC, can vary between states. With this coverage, you are generally covered for extra cost of home repair required to comply with current building codes. I was told in my area you have 2 yrs to file a hail-damage claim, although it's always best to have prompt inspection.

Good luck!
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:16 AM   #6
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Living in the hail capital of the US, we have replaced our roof 4x in twenty years and thats with so called 35 year shingles. If the hail is very large, virtually nothing will stand up to it.

You can sometimes inspect your roof yourself with a pair of binoculars depending on the pitch of the roof, and the divets will be quite apparent. If there are enough of these in a given sq ft area, it can lead to further cracking, leaks, and shingles coming off if left as is. I suggest getting a reputable local roofing company to look at it, and if replacement is warranted, I would not hesitate to file a claim. Yes, your rates will likely go up a bit, but a good insurance company will cover it and not drop you in the process. Generally, insurance companies know when a large hail storm hits the area due to claim activity, so you should not be an exception. Also, talk to your neighbors and see how their roofs faired.

Some of these insurance companies that drop people if they file a claim are a joke in my opinion. Go with good insurance companies like AMICA who stand behind you when losses occur and will not drop you.
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Old 07-13-2013, 11:24 AM   #7
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Just thoughts to reflect on.. At 17 years, and possible previous damage to be stricken from the cost, what would that leave you as far as true reimbursed settlement?
I have a 30 year warranty on my shingles, but no way am I waiting 30 to re-roof. Mine is currently 10, and I plan on doing it shortly after 20. Hopefully you will get treated right by the insurance company. I am always leery of a rate jack up myself.
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:47 PM   #8
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Forget what a roofing company or others tell you. Call your insurance company, file a claim and have their adjuster look at your roof. Then decide. Besides, why pay for insurance for 40 yrs and then be afraid to actually use it? Sounds like in 5 or so years, you will be shelling out 100% of the cost of a new roof.

Some years ago, we had major hail damage to roof and siding. Insurance covered it and no change in rates. Then in 2011, lost the house completely in a wildfire. Insurance paid, again no increase in rates. House insurance is not like auto insurance, you were not driving the house when the hail hit, so you weren't at fault and the insurance companies risk is no greater with you than with anyone else. Rates will go up based on total losses, not an individual claim.
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by utrecht View Post
This happened to me about 8-10 years ago. We were out of town when a bad hail storm came thru. I didnt think anything of it until I saw house after house in my neighborhood getting new roofs. I didnt get solicited like you did, but I did go up on my roof and look around. Everything looked fine to me so I forgot about it. Then even more houses got new roofs so I called my insurance company to get my roof inspected. The inspector said I needed a new roof, which proves that I don't know anything about roofs since I thought it was fine. I got a new roof, which if believe was around $6-8k back then. I can't say exactly how it affected my premiums, but I know for sure that they didn't jump an alarming amount. I would've remembered that. I definitely came out ahead in the deal.
Me too except it was almost 20 years ago for us. If I recall, the insurance company didn't even come out to check my roof. I was in the designated hail damage area so they said go ahead.
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Old 07-15-2013, 01:56 AM   #10
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After a few storms hit out area, we had some shingles missing and some damage to the window sills and gutters. We had like 3 people stop buy to ask about filing a claim. I finally had it inspected and got like $6k for a new roof, new front door, new sills, and some other stuff. Insurance didn't go up at all. There were about 10 houses in the immediate area that got new roofs within 3 months.
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Old 07-19-2013, 01:12 PM   #11
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Just a follow up on this, today the claims adjuster and the roofing company came out to evaluate the damage. Long story short, the roof is covered 100% (less $1,000 deductible). Now the process begins. Thermometer says 99.0 as I write this so I am glad that I am not in the roofing business or the claims adjuster business.

I guess it is also a good thing that I have no mortgage. I understand this complicates the payment issue.

BTW my local agent said to expect a 20% increase in my homeowner premiums for the next 5 years. I guess we will see.
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Old 07-19-2013, 01:41 PM   #12
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...very similar story here. We were out of town during a hail event about ten years ago and only found out about it because we saw roofing trucks all over the neighborhood.

Our next door neighbors' claim was rejected, and we did not call our company for another couple months. The guy saw hail damage and we got new shingles. (Old ones were 20+ years old)

It was incredibly hot. I just knew at least one of the workers was going to fall off from heat exhaustion. Roofing company owner said they prefer it when it's hot because the shingles are pliable and the job goes faster. He said there is nothing worse than trying to re-shingle in cold weather.

Tin roofs are popping up in this area. We plan to look at that as an option next time.

Glad it is working out for you, Tom52.
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Old 07-19-2013, 02:04 PM   #13
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One thing to consider is moving to a metal roof (or impact resistant shingles at least). Where I live my dad put a metal roof on after a storm in 2002. Since then there was a second storm and all the neighbors had to get new roofs. The metal does not even show dents. (its 26 gauge metal). It turns out thats a class 4 roof, that is tested to take 2 hits with a 4 inch steel ball dropped onto it from 12 to 20 feet. The test is does the material crack. If you get a class 4 roof and are willing to waive cosmetic damage (i.e. dents) you can get a significant discount on home owners insurance. In the case cite the metal roof cost about twice the cost of a shingle roof, but between the deductable (1%) and the 10 years of saving on the homeowners insurance it about paid the difference. (Also a metal roof can reduce AC costs). So if you can swing the cost difference and are planing to stay in the house a while it makes sense to consider a metal roof. Note in addition to the standing seam roofing there are also metal shingles. However the wind resistance of a metal shingle may not be the same as a standing seam roof. Note that with this house build in 1986 the roof in 2002 was the third roof on the house (the second storm that got the house). So now including the storm that hit the neighbors, thats 3 storms in 26 years or between 8 and 9 years per storm.
Note that many states forbid direct premium increases due to weather events, but allow general premium increases, i.e. your individual filing or not filing does not affect the premium, but rather if a lot of folks file for damages the premium of all in an area will go up. The idea is that you don't have control of the weather, as contrasted with auto insurance. Now if like in MO there is a disaster premiums for that part of the state may well increase for all.
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Old 07-19-2013, 02:58 PM   #14
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When I was doing real estate, I heard enough horror stories from fellow agents, insurance reps, mortgage reps, and the general public we dealt with, to decide I would never file a homeowners claim unless it was a catastrophic loss, such as the house burned down in a fire or something like that.

Heard many stories about people who would file relatively minor claims, and their rates would skyrocket, or they'd get dropped.

I decided it wasn't worth the risk. Anything less than full destruction of the home, I'd cover myself.
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:30 PM   #15
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I just replaced the roof on my house last month. The house is only about 1000 square feet; the materials were $1800 and labor was $1900. The old shingles were installed about 25 years ago after a large hail storm. At that time the insurance company paid $2000 to replace the roof. My homeowners insurance stayed at the same price. This time around there was no storm so had to pay for it myself.
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:24 PM   #16
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6 or 7 years ago I was home after work when we got a hail storm with the largest hail I ever saw in our area (marble sized) and it lasted awhile. I had heard of what hail can do to reduce the life of asphalt shingles, so I crawled on my roof the next weekend and really couldn't tell anything looked different. I called my insurance agent and they said they would send out an independent adjuster that they used. I was surprised when he said yes there was damage and I could get several quotes and I'd be getting a new roof if i wanted minus my deductible. I was the first in my neighborhood to get a new roof. Within the next year or two, 60% of my entire neighborhood did the same. My 18 year old roof got completely re-roofed. Total tear off and replacement. Once the ball gets rolling the contractors start going door to door and the skeptics see all the other new roofs and then they too realize its time for a new roof. I did not really notice an increase directly related to the roof claim, however my premiums have risen lately in the last 2-3 years I think more due to the costly climate change issues we all are paying for. I heard some figures that in the last 6-7 years of increasing disasters each year the US insurance claim payments for home related natural disasters nationwide (hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes) has doubled each and every year. Previously that magnitude was unheard of. It was previously a straight-line steady increase.

I say go for it. My only advice is to still get at least 3 different roofing contractor quotes, regardless of the insurance co paying most of it. You want to choose a quality outfit.
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:28 PM   #17
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PS - My only regret to the hail storm incident that I had was that I did not disconnect my old furnace and push it out onto the driveway. It needed replacing 3 years later and I wished it too got hail damage!
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:58 PM   #18
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I was always under the understanding that homeowners insurance did not go up based on claims..? am I wrong?
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Old 07-19-2013, 08:37 PM   #19
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Our roof was replaced after a tornado in 1992. There were gaping holes in the roof. There was a lot of other damage to the house, but we are talking about roofs on this thread.

In 2008 our roof was replaced after a hail storm. In both cases we paid only the deductible and our rates did not go up.

A couple of months ago a devastating hail storm passed through our area. Fortunately it missed our house. DD was at work. Her car was damaged, but the glass was intact. She is still waiting to have her car repaired. There are thousands of damaged cars and they are repairing the worst first. The insurance company gave her a check for over $5,000. There may be additional negotiation when the body shop gets to her car.

During the same hail storm a couple of months ago, the old barn on our property was hit by baseball sized hail that went right through the tin roof. Unfortunately, we don't have any insurance on the barn.
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Old 07-21-2013, 06:51 PM   #20
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Just another update, the claims adjustor emailed the final estimate that they and the chosen roofing company have agreed to. Total cost $16,440.14. I will only be required to pay the $1,000.00 deductible.

Since the roof is about 15 years old they will cut me a check for approx. $11,000.00 and then pay out the balance once paperwork has been provided that proves the work has been completed. That has to do with a depreciation hold back. They don't want to give me the opportunity to pocket the full replacement amount. I'm more than O.K. with that and feel fortunate of the timing. We are planning to move when I retire in a year or two. A new roof for $1,000 out of pocket will help sell the place.
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