Chicago’s hail season is wrapping up, although it’s very likely that we are going to have a few strong storms before fall turns into winter and the white stuff called snow (with whom most of us have a love-hate relationship) blankets our parks, streets, and cars. Early fall is a perfect time to go over the most prevalent hail damage myths and, hopefully, help out some homeowners along the way. If your area got hit by some hail this year but you haven’t taken time to check out your roof, now is your chance.
Myth: Hail damage is something that has been manufactured by roofing companies trying to make a quick buck. In reality, very few roofs get damaged by hail storms.
Fact: Hail is one of the most frequent causes of property damage – and that damage can be very expensive. Insurance company State Farm says hail cost its policyholders a whopping $2.4 billion in 2014. If you live in Illinois, you’re even more likely to be a victim of hail damage. 43,821 damage claims due to hail were reported in 2014, making Land of Lincoln the number two state where hail caused the most damage last year. (Texas was number one with the most claims in the nation.)
Myth: If I can’t see the damage, there is no damage.
Fact: It’s true that sometimes roofers make things sound more complicated than they are, as if spotting hail damage requires a Doctoral degree from Harvard. If I showed you what hail damage may look like, you could easily spot its signs on the roof. The problem is that if you’ve never seen it before and performing roof inspections isn’t something that you do very often, some signs of hail storm damage are pretty easy to miss. While minor damage may not result in immediate leak, it can dramatically reduce the lifespan of your roof. If you had a significant hail event (something that your local newspaper or news portal has reported on, or simply noted it) you should consult with a professional roofer even if you haven’t spotted any damage.
Myth: Winter is approaching and it’s too late to file the claim. If there’s some damage, I’ll file the claim in spring. If it’s a legitimate claim, my insurance company is obligated to pay.
Fact: First of all, it depends on your policy. Many insurance companies do have a one year time limit and some even less. Regardless, the longer you wait, the less chances you have to get your insurance company to pay. Remember, insurance doesn’t make money by paying your claim; they make money but not paying your claim. If they can find any legitimate reason to get your claim rejected, they will. They have conferences and trainings with fancy titles which in reality mean “how to avoid paying hail damage claims.” You want to get all the evidence you have as soon as possible after the hail storm. If your area experienced a hail event this year, don’t postponed it until the spring; get it checked out now.
Myth: My roof is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
Fact: Manufacturers specifically name hail as an exclusion to their product warranty, as do home builders and roofing contractors. Newer roofs can actually be more susceptible to hail damage versus older roofs due to the time it takes a new roof to cure from exposure to the elements. Your homeowners insurance is the best bet to get your roof replaces for next to nothing so don’t waste that chance and act sooner rather than later.