Homeowners should always be prepared for the harmful effects of hurricanes and inclement weather, which can sometimes result in extensive property damage. For example, a particularly bad windstorm or hailstorm may result in damage to your roof, windows, and more.
If your home is ever damaged due to hail or other issues that may arise in connection with a hurricane, you may be eligible to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance carrier. Many policies will cover repairs to your home, and in some cases, they may even cover you for a whole new roof.
However, to ensure the best results, it is important to handle the claims process carefully and judiciously. Here are a few basic tips for homeowners to follow.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A HURRICANE
- Assess the damage. Once the storm is over and it is safe to head outside, take a thorough inventory of your home, listing any areas where you see damage. Some of the primary places to look for damage include the roof, your HVAC unit(s), and the siding of your home.
- Take photos. When you submit a claim to your homeowner insurance company, you will want to bolster your case with clear photographic evidence. Take pictures of all the damaged areas, and also try to get good quality pictures of any hailstones themselves. Place a measuring tape or ruler in the picture to show the size and scale of the hailstones.
- Review the details of your homeowner policy. Most standard homeowner insurance covers hail damage, but there are exceptions. Be aware that most policies will place a time limit on when you can file a claim. The standard timeframe is one year, but again, this is just a rule of thumb.
- Contact your insurance company. To begin the claims process, call your insurance carrier. They will ask for some very basic information, including your name and policy number. Alternatively, most insurance companies now let you start the claims process online; doing so may provide an easy way for you to upload your photo documentation of the property damage. Make sure you keep copies of all submitted documents, save the claim number, and get an estimate for when an insurance adjuster will arrive to appraise the damage.
- Contact a local roofer or contractor. It is useful to contact a local roofer or contractor to come look at the storm damage and give you an independent quote; this may provide you with a helpful comparison point for your insurance company’s quote. Note that many roofers will offer a quote for free, and without any obligation.
By following these steps, you can maximize your chances of having your claim dealt with fairly and expediently. However, if you run into problems or believe your insurance company is dealing with you unfairly, you should call an insurance attorney.
McLaurin Law Firm provides legal services to homeowners and business owners throughout the Harris County and Houston area. It is worth noting that Texas is the #1 state for hail damage, and we have substantial experience helping our clients navigate the claims process to receive the best possible outcomes following major storms. Our attorneys specialize in insurance law and will be happy to discuss your case with you.
Jason McLaurin is a founding member of McLaurin Law. He has over a decade of experience representing clients at trial, arbitration, and mediation in matters concerning insurance policyholder recovery disputes, complex commercial litigation, and catastrophic personal injury claims. He also represents businesses as outside general counsel for clients in a variety of industries including construction, oil and gas, maritime, technology, and professional services. He is licensed and handles matters in both Texas and Louisiana.