1. DO NOT WAIT TO FILE YOUR CLAIM
You should contact the claims department of your insurance company as soon as possible and find out how long you have to file a claim. If you don’t file a claim within the allowable time, usually one year, you may end up footing the bill yourself!
2. CHOOSE YOUR OWN CONTRACTOR
In most cases, insurers will not force you to use the contractors they recommend. Although their preferred contractors are usually reputable companioes, tehre’s no guarantee you will get the quality you deserve. It is important to meet with any contractor under consideration to make sure you are comfortable doing business with them. You have the right to choose your own contractor and should take as much care in doing so as you would if the insurance company was not involved.
3. INSPECT YOUR HOME THOROUGHLY
Even minor damage can cause serious, expensive leaks in the future. A professional inspection will confirm how much damage you have and whether your roof needs to be repaired or replaced. Minor repairs can be handled outside of the insurance claims procedure to ensure your coverage is not affected.
4. DO NOT RELY ON YOUR SHINGLE MANUFACTURER OR ROOFING CONTRACTOR WARRANTIES
Manufacturers’ warranties have specific exclusions for hail damage and limitations with regards to wind coverage. Similarly, roofing contractors offer warranties that cover their workmanship, not acts of God. If you have hail or excessive wind damage, you should file a claim with your insurer as soon as possible.
5. UNDERSTAND YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE
Insurers are not allowed to cancel your home policy due to hail or wind damage claims, but it is important to understand the details of your coverage and how your premiums may be affected. Compare the costs of your deductibles and premium changes to the overall cost of the repair before filing a claim to ensure it is worth your while.
6. YOU FILED A CLAIM BUT IS DENIED
After a major storm, insurance adjusters and roofing contractors can become overwhelmed. As a result, you may not receive a thorough inspection on your claim. In situations where there are a large amount of claims being made, your claim may not have received the proper amount of attention. This can lead to claims being mistakenly denied.
You have every right to appeal this decision, especially if you know your area was hit by hail and your neighbours have had their claims approved. You should get another independent, detailed inspection, so you can provide your insurer with evidence that might have been overlooked.