Roof damaged by hail? Your insurer may no longer pay to replace it.
Bad news for homeowners: As hail storms become more frequent and severe, your insurer may reduce your roof coverage to avoid paying for roof replacement. Image: National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center
If you live where hail happens most often — basically everywhere in the country east of the line of states running south from Montana — you know it can knock the life out of your roof, making it unlikely to survive into old age the way it would in some place like Rio. Insurance companies have figured that out, too, and they’re looking to cut their losses by limiting your roof coverage. Hail-related claims increased 84% between 2010 and 2012, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. How to Know if Your Insurer is Out to Cut Hail ClaimsLook for changes like these in your renewal policy:
- Refusing to cover roofs over a certain age (like 10 years).
- Adding a separate hail deductible that’s subtracted from what you’re paid on a hail claim.
- Excluding cosmetic damage like dents in metal roofs, siding, or copper trim.
- Doing roof inspections that note the condition and age of your roof before issuing a policy.
- Not covering roofs made from obsolete shingles. (You can’t buy replacement shingles for patches.)
- Doing partial roof repairs instead of replacing your whole roof (possibly leaving you with a patch that’s a different color than your original roof).
How Do You Know If Your Policy Pays Actual Cash Value?
- Read the declaration page of your policy.
- Call your insurance agent.
- Look for roofing materials rated by UL 2218 or FM 4473 as Class 3 or 4. All that means is that they’re proven to withstand hail storms.
- Choose materials rated for the wind speed in your area.
- Use an experienced contractor — proper installation ensures the roof will withstand high winds.
- After storms, don’t respond to offers claiming you can get a “free” roof. (The scammers are assuming your insurance company will pay for it.)
- Only let reliable, experienced, licensed contractors examine your roof.
- Make sure anyone you hire to repair your roof uses the right materials that will hold up to the next hail storm.