Every year, hail storms cause costly property damage across the entire United States. Hail damage is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, and while residents in all states are at risk of damage resulting from a hail storm, some states are more prone to this type of event than others. Hail damage is often cosmetic, but severe hail storms can cause significant damage to the roof of a home, leaving it vulnerable for rain and other unwanted elements to enter the home and cause further destruction.
Insurance agents are tasked with helping their clients protect themselves from financial loss resulting from a variety of perils, but it’s also important to ensure clients are educated about their risks and how their insurance applies to those risks. Below are some of the most important things your homeowner clients should know about hail damage.
Hail Damage is Typically Covered by a Standard Home Insurance Policy
Most standard home insurance policies cover wind and hail damage, for occurrences like a roof being blown off by strong winds, a tree falling into a house or hail breaking windows. However, if the cost of the damage doesn’t exceed the deductible amount or it is strictly cosmetic, the home insurance policy may not cover it. Because hail damage claims are so common, insurance companies have to maintain some exclusions to keep insurance rates from continuously rising.
Hail Damage Claims Should Be Filed Promptly
Most standard policies in most of the states require homeowners to file a hail claim within one year of determining that a hail storm has caused damage to some part of their house. However, since policies can differ, especially in states where hail is more frequent, time limits may vary. It is recommended to file hail damage claims as quickly as possible, especially since hail damage to a roof or windows can quickly lead to water damage if not properly repaired.
States Where Hail is More Common Can Have Higher Rates or Deductibles
After Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, many insurers decided that homeowners in states that are more vulnerable to wind damage (which covers hail damage as well) would need to pay more for their wind and hail coverage – either through their deductible amount or through their premiums. In some states homeowners do have the option to pay a higher premium in return for the traditional dollar deductible amount, but in higher risk areas insurers do not give policyholders this option. Instead, homeowners in hail and wind prone areas are given the option of a percentage deductible, which can range from one to five percent of the insured value of the home, depending on certain factors.
There is no “hail season,” for homeowners to keep track on. Hail can happen any time of the year, so it’s important to ensure that homeowners are properly covered.
About Wilmington Insurance Agency
Wilmington Insurance Agency delivers comprehensive coastal property solutions. We are a Managing General Agency and provide independent insurance agents with property and liability insurance solutions for residents and businesses primarily in Maryland and Virginia. We work alongside our sister company, Wilmington Insurance Company, established in 1996 and providing Property & Casualty commercial lines business, homeowners, and condominium insurance in the state of Delaware. To learn more about how we can help you to expand your book of business in the coastal market, contact us at (302) 231-2800.