Thursday, May 17, 2012

Colorado Hail Season Is About To Begin!

It's that time of year again - hail season - the scariest time of year for Colorado insurance companies. Hail storms are unpredictable, devastatingly expensive and, unfortunately, way too common of an event here in southern Colorado. Read the article below from the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association and it'll be pretty easy to see why home insurance rates have been on the rise throughout the state:

The largest recorded hailstone in U.S. history fell on July 23, 2010 in Vivian, South Dakota, measuring
8 inches in diameter and weighing 1.94 pounds. The prized stone is now on ice at the National
Center of Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. The previous record hailstone fell in
Aurora, Nebraska on June 22, 2003 and measured 7 inches in diameter and weighed 1.67 pounds

Colorado Hail Statistics

Colorado’s damaging hail season is considered to be from mid-April to mid-August. Colorado’s
Front Range is located in the heart of "Hail Alley," which receives the highest frequency of large
hail in North America and most of the world, so residents usually can count on three or four catastrophic (defined as at least $25 million in insured damage) hailstorms every year. In the last 10 years, hailstorms have caused more than $3 billion in insured damage in Colorado. As a result, up to one-half of your homeowners insurance premium may be going toward hail and wind damage costs. If you carry comprehensive coverage on your auto policy, hail damage is covered by almost all insurance companies. Comprehensive insurance is optional, but if you live in a hail prone area, the insurance industry recommends this coverage.

Colorado's Most Costly Hail Storms

With the exception of the May 22, 2008 Windsor tornado and the hailstorm that hit Pueblo on July 29, 2009, Colorado’s ten most costly hailstorms were centered in the Denver Metro area (which makes sense, because that’s where the largest concentration of property in the state is located).

What To Do After A Hail Storm

First, if a hailstorm strikes, don’t go out in the storm to try to protect your
property. You could be injured.
Download RMIIA's "Hail Damage Fraud" brochure.

Assess the damage.
  • Check trees, shrubs and plants around your house. If they are stripped
    of their foliage, there is a possibility that your roof is damaged. You
    should also check for roof damage if patio covers, screens or soft
    aluminum roof vents are dented.
  • Check your car for dents and broken or cracked glass.
Protect your property from further damage.
  • If you find signs that hail has battered your property, take immediate steps to protect it from further damage.
  • Cover any broken windows and holes in your roof so that no water can enter and damage your home’s interior.
  • Cover any broken glass in your car to prevent damage to the interior from rain and remove glass from the car’s interior to prevent cuts in upholstery and carpet.
File your claim
  • Call your agent or company as soon as you notice damage. Practically all homeowners policies cover hail damage. You car will be covered if you’ve purchased comprehensive coverage.
  • If your agent or company requests you to do so, follow up your call with a written explanation of what happened.
  • Save receipts for what you spend and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Select a repair company.
  • After an insurance adjuster has surveyed the hail damage to your property, select a reputable roofing company or auto body shop to make repairs.
  • Allow only the insurance adjuster and roofer you have selected to get up on your roof. Each time someone walks on it, more damage can occur.
  • Be wary of out-of-town roofers who move into an area and set up shop following a storm. While most of these firms are reputable, some have collected money from homeowners and moved on to the next storm site without paying suppliers or leaving work unfinished. This can leave homeowners holding the bag for those additional costs. It’s a good idea to select a company with established credibility and local references. Word of mouth is still your best guide.
  • Be sure roofers have workers compensation and liability insurance. If they don’t, you may be held liable if one of the workers is injured or if they damage a neighbor’s property.
  • Don’t make final payment to the roofing company until your roof has been inspected and you are satisfied.
Use hail resistive roofing materials.
  • When building a new home or replacing your roof consider using hail-resistive roofing products. The insurance industry has an Underwriters Laboratory standard ranking, the UL 2218 standard. The standard has four impact-level designations that will help you compare products. Roof coverings that show the most resistance earn a Class 4 rating; the least, a Class 1 rating.
  • Impact-resistant Roofs: Smart Steps to Reduce Hailstorm Damage is a free, online learning experience that consists of four self-paced learning modules. It teaches homeowners and other consumers about the benefits of installing impact-resistant residential roofing products. Click here for more information.