It is no secret, especially while living in Indiana, that hail damage to your roof can be quite severe.  Not only can this damage lead to further water damage problems in the ceiling of your house, but it can also be an eye sore to look at, with broken or missing shingles affecting the aesthetics of your home.  It is also no secret that insurance customers to tend to be quite upset when there is hail in an area and their insurance company doesn’t replace their roof.  Here are a few things you may want to know about the affects of hail damage in your area.

Don’t Be Sold By Roofing Companies.  After a hail storm in your area, independent roofing contractors will be out in full force, canvasing neighborhoods, looking to give people free estimates for fixing the “damage” to their roof.  We often call these companies “storm chasers”, as they seem to resurface after each storm, looking to get paid by insurance companies.  They will give you an estimate, and then tell you to file a claim with your insurance company, and use their services.  They are uninterested in giving you the most reasonable price because they know it will be paid by the insurance company and not out of your pocket.  Now, not all roofing contractors are bad, but there are may companies such as the one I’ve described, which you need to be careful of.  Many times, you don’t even have serious hail damage to be replaced and then when the insurance company refutes the claim, the client is upset due to what the contractor told them.  Remember, these contractors make their living off of this.  Every claim filed is an opportunity for them to make money, no matter how small the damage may be or the chance it gets paid by the insurance company. My advice would be to use a reputable company you’ve heard of, or call the insurance company directly and have one of their adjusters come out and inspect the damage themselves.

“My Neighbor Received A New Roof, I Want One Too.”  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard this.  The sad thing is, as an agent, I totally sympathize with this.  I understand how hard it would be to look down the street, see your neighbors getting new roofs, and then have your claim denied.  There are two basic reasons for this.  Firstly, hail has interesting patterns.  Hail doesn’t fall as consistently as some may think.  It is very possible that someone down the street could have gotten hit much harder by hail damage than you, just due to the wind patterns and the way the storm moved through the area.  As unbelievable as this may sound, it does happen.  The second reason for this may be due to the age and condition of the roof itself.  If down the street, your neighbor had a roof that was 25 years old, and already had previous storm damage, they are probably more likely to get a claim paid once a hail  storm rolls in.   Now, a person who already has a new, sturdy roof may be less likely to receive damages due to the roof holding up better during the storm.  Basically, just because hail hits every roof, doesn’t mean there is the same hail damage to every roof.  It depends on certain factors: age of roof, condition of roof, pattern/severity of the storm, etc.

Replace Your Roof When Necessary.  I couldn’t begin to count the number of people in this country who need a new roof right this moment, but are waiting for the next storm to file an insurance claim.  Many people have forgotten, insurance is not in place to maintain your home. It is there to protect you in the event of an unforseen, or sudden loss.  Think about it like this…  When your air-conditioner, or furnace gets old and breaks down, do you file an insurance claim to replace it?  It’s the same thing with your roof.  Your roof has a shelf life of somewhere around 20 years.  As it gets older, it wears, tears and breaks down.  This is something that you should plan on replacing throughout your home ownership.  Unfortunately, people, especially in areas prone to hail damage, have begun to lean on the insurance company to do this for them, and then wonder why insurance companies are raising homeowners rates?  This is a serious problem that the insurance companies are  eventually going to fix by either making the customers carry a higher deductible on roof and hail claims, or paying the customer actual cash value for their roof instead of replacement cost.  This means if you had a twenty year old roof, you’re getting it replaced with a twenty year old roof.  This is the way insurance companies will be able to help keep people honest.