Many types of hazards, such as hail cause costly damage to homes. Homeowners who suffer hail loss can pursue a claim for damage which occurs to the roof or other parts of the structure. While damage related to hail storms is covered under standard homeowner’s insurance policies, insurance companies often balk at paying valid claims by dragging their feet, undervaluing claims or refusing to pay claims. Miami homeowner’s insurance coverage attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo has provided answers to common questions about hail claims.
What should a homeowner do to obtain a better outcome when pursuing a hail damage claim?
While the natural tendency for homeowners is to clean up, repair the damage and discard debris, this should not be done immediately. The damage and debris should be preserved until your insurance company’s adjuster has inspected the premises. Photos or video also should be taken of any damages resulting from the hail storm. The nature and extent of your loss will be easier to communicate later if you have video or photos depicting the damage. Homeowners also should inventory all damage to the building and personal property. This inventory should be provided to the insurance adjuster.
How do I determine the types of damage covered by my homeowner’s policy?
After a hail storm that damages your home, you should review the policy carefully to determine what damage is covered by the policy. If there are parts of your homeowner’s insurance policy that you do not understand, you should highlight those sections of the policy. The insurance adjuster should be asked about language or provisions that are unclear or confusing. If you have misplaced your policy or it was damaged in the storm, you should immediately request a copy of your policy.
What immediate steps must be undertaken following a hail storm that causes damage to your home?
The most important task is to call your insurance company and immediately report the loss. When you call, you also need to inquire about where you should send written notice of your loss, which can be forwarded either through U.S. mail, facsimile or electronically. This initial notice need only provide a basic description of the incident that caused the damage and an indication of possible damage. Written notice should be provided even if a representative of the insurance company indicates that it is unnecessary. When initially reporting the claim, you also need to get your claim number and to store it in a safe place.
While you should not repair or clean up the property, you should implement temporary measures to mitigate further damage to the premises until repairs can be undertaken. By way of example, you should affix a tarp over the hole in your roof to prevent further storm damage. Most homeowner’s insurance policies impose a duty to mitigate damages on policyholders.
If your hail damage claim has been denied, we are here to help. My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.