Texas Hail Damage Attorney
In Texas, hailstorms are a common occurrence that can result in big damages. In recent years, several hailstorms have caused in excess of one-billion dollars in property damage while leaving communities struggling to rebuild. This does not account for the numerous other storms that regularly damage our homes and businesses.
People often turn to their insurance company after discovering damage caused by hail. Unfortunately, insurers in the State of Texas often deny or grossly underpay hailstorm claims. The good news is that an experienced property insurance lawyer can assist you in recovering the compensation you need to repair your property from your insurance company.
A hailstorm claims is not necessarily an easy process for policy
If you’re in this situation and you need help submitting a hail damage insurance claim or if your claim was undervalued, delayed, or denied – we at The Johns Firm can assist you. We are dedicated in defending our clients’ legal rights and forcing insurance companies to honor their insurance policies and pay you the benefits you are legally entitled to.
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Assessing Hail Damage
Your roof is the most common item that is damaged in a hailstorm. Typically, the damage that comes from a hailstorm is not very easy to see; roofs need to be carefully inspected by someone with experience and training in order to determine the extent of the damage. In addition, hailstorms often cause damage to HVAC systems, gutters, flashing, siding, vehicles parked outside, and more.
In many cases, property owners are aware of the hailstorm but did not conduct an initial inspection of the roof to document damage. It is not uncommon for a property owner to eventually have their property inspected after learning that their neighbors’ property was damaged. Sometimes, roofers or other professionals may even inform locals that the hailstorm had caused significant damage to other properties. The fact that you did not immediately make a claim following an event does not change the fact that your property was damaged, and you are legally entitled to make a claim.
Unfortunately, the adjusters sent by the insurance companies often look for excuses to deny the claim instead of paying what is correct. It is important to remember, insurance companies are usually not on your side and profit when legitimate claims are denied.
It is important to recognize that a hailstorm is normally a combination of hail, high winds, and heavy rain. Insurance adjusters often fail to acknowledge that it is the combination of these elements that often cause the damage to your property.
There are several common signs of hailstorm damage. Granular loss is one of the most common signs. This looks like a small indentation or divot in the roof that is often indicative of hail damage. In addition, you may have shingles that have become unsealed due to high winds. Sometime, there will be divots on metallic items such as a compressor, gutter, or even automobile. In some cases, the combination of wind and hail may have caused. With time, these damages lead to what is often called roof or structural failure. The damage worsens over time eventually leading to a leaky roof and water causing damage to the interior of your property. It is important to realize that the purpose of a roof is to prevent water from coming inside your property. A hailstorm may cause enough damage to significantly diminish the life of a roof. While it could some time for your roof to fail, you want to avoid that. This is why it is important to file an insurance claim if your property was damaged.
Hailstorms can be quite expensive for property owners and depending on your insurance policy, you may need to pay a deductible. Depending on the extent of your damages and the type of roofing material you have, the average cost of a roof replacement is about $6000 for homeowners. For other property owners, you can expect a significant higher cost due to other factors such as size.
Windows and vehicles can also be affected by hail. A replacement window can range anywhere between $500 to $1000 depending on the type you need. Damages to a car can average to about $3000 depending on the scope of work needed.
Hail damage insurance claims are usually strenuous which leads many policy holders to settle for less than they are actually owed. Other challenges that policy holders may face with their insurance company include:
Making an Insurance Claim
Most homeowners and commercial property policies cover damage caused by hailstorms. If you suspect that your property was damaged by hail, you should call your insurance agent to get the claim started. Be sure to confirm that the claim was made. Once made, your insurance company should promptly schedule an initial inspection.
You will also want to get an estimate from a local reputable roofing contractor that is licensed and insured. You should have the contractor check out your roof to verify that they believe you have hail damage.
Usually, the insurance adjustor will document the damages and take pictures. Afterwards, the adjustor should explain the next steps to you. Depending on the adjustor and the situation, you may receive a settlement quote right away or you may need to wait a couple of weeks. This may be because the adjustor will want to confirm measurements and compare notes with the roofing contractor.
In some cases, the insurance adjustor may believe there is no sign of significant damage to your property or claim that your roof damage is excluded. If you find yourself in this position, have your roofing contractor discuss the damages with the adjustor. However, you may want to consult an attorney if you believe your insurance company is wrongfully denying or underpaying your claim.
It is also recommended to have your contractor present when the insurance adjustor visits your property.
What Makes Hailstorm Claims Difficult
Hailstorms are different than losses like a fire, flood, or hurricane. The item that suffers the greatest amount of damage in a hailstorm is the roof. Most roofs were installed several years prior to the event and, in most cases, not visibly destroyed by the hailstorm. However, this does not change the fact that the hailstorm may have caused damage that requires a new roof. The purpose of making a hailstorm claim is not simply to repair the damage sustained to your roof, it is also to avoid the much more extensive damages when the roof ultimately fails.
Even if your roof may have been damaged, insurance companies often claim that the occurred prior to the storm that forms the basis of your claim. It is also not uncommon for the insurance company to deny the claim based on improper installation by the roofing contractor.
As a policyholder, it is important to know that policy exclusions are disfavored, and an insurance company needs significant evidence to support exclusion of a claim. When insurance companies deny a claim based on a policy exclusion, you may need to retain an engineer or other experts to demonstrate that the claim should be covered.
When to Contact an Attorney
It is completely possible to settle a hail insurance claim on your own, however if you are experiencing difficulty communicating with the insurance company or if you have questions and concerns throughout the process, then having an experienced attorney can help with these issues and more such as:
Keep in mind that after a settlement has been accepted, it is usually impossible to reopen the claim.
We encourage you to contact The Johns Firm for a no-cost consultation where we evaluate your case and explain your options. With our knowledge and years of experience, we can help you resolve insurance damage claims in Houston and throughout the State of Texas.
Contact Us as soon as you can to speak to a Houston property damage attorney.