What Florida Homeowners Should Know about Hail Damage

J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo
Founder of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.

Florida is known for harsh tropical storms that cause extensive damage to homes involving wind and water, but hail storms are fairly infrequent in Florida.  Despite the fact that hail is a fairly rare occurrence in many areas of the United States, it can do significant property damage.

Hail is created by strong updrafts of warm air and strong down drafts of cold air during a thunder storm.  The updrafts may transport water droplets above the freezing level.  Subsequently, a down draft may move the frozen droplets into warm air where the droplets partially thaw.  Then the droplets can again be caught in an updraft that cause the droplet to refreeze in cold air.  This repeating cycle causes the frozen droplets to continue increasing in size.  The large frozen droplets will eventually fall to the ground.

While many people are aware that hail can damage their vehicle, they are less aware that hail can also harm their home.  When the hail is large enough, the damage to a home can be substantial.  The hail can damage the shingles on your roof.  Shingles can be nicked, chipped or otherwise damaged.  This shingle damage can facilitate water penetration that causes structural damage and personal property damage to items inside your home.  Wood shingles or shakes might be cracked by the force of impact from hail whereas metal and slate withstand impact more effectively.  Hail can also crash through skylights and windows.

Homeowners insurance should cover most forms of property damage caused by hail.  Although certain items, such as outdoor plants might be excluded, you should carefully review your policy.  Whether you have a named peril or all-risk coverage, the expenses associated with repairing most forms of damage should be covered beyond your insurance deductible.

The insurance company will send someone to inspect your home to identify evidence that the roof is age-worn.  The insurer’s expert will often claim wear and tear made the shingles susceptible to damage.  If the insurer is successful in establishing that age or lack of maintenance caused your roof to leak, the insurer might successfully contend that your benefits are subject to depreciation.

Policyholders who own a manufactured or mobile home should be aware that homeowners coverage might not apply to hail damage for these types of structures.  Insurance companies frequently deny or delay claims to maximize profits.  The cost associated with replacing a roof can easily be thousands of dollars not to mention additional expenses associated with structural damage caused by water penetration from compromised shingles.  Water penetration caused by hail damage can also destroy personal property inside the home.

If you have questions about Miami property damage claims, you are welcome to contact my Miami insurance claim law firm.  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.

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