In the grand scheme of natural disasters that could potentially affect your business, hailstorms probably aren’t the ones that you’re most worried about. After all, compared to hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and more, a bit of hail seems relatively minor.
But those little (or not so little) bits of hail can cause some pretty extreme damage to your roof, vehicles, and other property. Which is why it is so important to be prepared!
Keep in mind that when a roof takes a hit from a hailstorm – particularly if it is a flat roof the hits have more impact – small leaks and cracks can start and build up or expand until they are significant problems. This can happen over years after a hail damage impact, and your insurance company only allows 2 years for commercial claims, thus time is of the essence to assess the condition of your property after a hailstorm and take care of any minor repairs quickly.
What’s more, hail storms are a somewhat common happening in many parts of the United States. In 2017, there were over 6,045 recorded hailstorms, and we’re on track to receive approximately the same number or more in 2018 with nearly 4,000 reported instances of hail so far this year.
So if you own property it’s essential that you understand what happens during a hailstorm, how to prepare for one, and what to do after a hailstorm occurs.
What Happens During A Hailstorm
Thunderstorms become hail storms when the updrafts are strong enough to carry water droplets to well above freezing temperatures. This causes hailstones to form, and they get larger as additional water freezes onto them.
When the hailstones become too heavy for the updrafts to support they fall to the ground in a hailstorm.
During a hailstorm, your property (including vehicles) can sustain significant damage. Keep in mind that in addition to damage from the hail itself, water leaks and damage can occur and small cracks or holes can get significant larger over time.
Being without power, having hail damaged rooftops and siding, and associated water damage or flooding can cause additional damage long after the storm is over – and that ongoing damage can affect your insurance claim if you don’t take immediate steps to mitigate it.
Being Prepared For A Hailstorm
You might think that only a massive hail storm with large hailstones can cause significant damage, but smaller stones can be equally destructive, especially because their impact isn’t always as immediately obvious and can cause further interior damage through water leaks.
Note that insurance companies expect you to minimize damage fairly quickly in order to pay out on claims, so fixing even tiny cracks as soon as possible is essential.
You might think that only a massive hail storm with large hailstones can cause significant damage, but smaller stones can be equally destructive…
In the event of a hailstorm as in anything else in life, it’s important to be prepared in advance – especially if you live in a states like Texas and Colorado that experiences a lot of hail storms.
Document your property by taking extensive pictures and doing video walkthroughs of the interior and the exterior so if there is damage and you need to make an insurance, you have records of what everything looked like before the hailstorm.
This might be seem tedious but it will save a ton of time, effort, and frustration in the long run – not to mention your public adjuster(s) will thank you for making their job easier as they deal with your insurance.
Another part of being prepared for a hailstorm or any other natural disaster is knowing that you do not have to do everything yourself when it comes to dealing with your insurance company and making claims – you can secure a public adjuster at no up front cost to yourself or business (they take a percentage of the insurance payout).
What Is A Public Adjuster?
Ensuring that you receive the proper value for your property and any damaged inventory or other recoupable costs from your insurance company may take a lot of time and effort; in fact, it may take days of time and effort which is definitely not what anyone wants to deal with when they are recovering from a hailstorm.
Public adjusters work for you, not the insurance company (they have their own adjusters who support their best interests). And that’s why you need them.
It is important to work with your own adjuster who has your best interests in mind and wants you to receive the maximum value for your hail damaged property.
What’s more, dealing with insurance companies can practically be a full time job in and of itself, which is the last thing you need when you and your family and /or business are recovering from a major storm.
If your insurance agency or broker say that you don’t need a public adjuster, think again. As much as they may sincerely want to help, they have no pull or control over the claims process and it is their job to benefit their employer, not you.
Dealing with insurance companies can practically be a full time job.
Moreover, they will not help you do the physical inventory that will be required to process your claim, they will not be involved with gathering any rebuilding or repair estimates, filing a business interruption insurance claim, or assigning dollar values to property or items you have lost in any way.
An insurance company has nothing to gain from with maximizing your payout, rather, they want to pay out as little as possible while still upholding your policy. What’s more, when public adjusters are involved, insurance companies pay more in claims – and of course they don’t like that at all.
If you are concerned about yet more expenses, know that public adjusters are not expensive – in fact, they do not cost you anything up front. A public adjuster takes a percentage of your insurance payout in exchange for managing the complicated and time consuming process and ensuring you get what you deserve.
So the more money you recoup from your claim for hail storm damages, the more your public adjuster earns.
When Do You Need A Public Adjuster?
After you have been through a hail storm or similar disaster and are dealing with property damage that you can claim on your insurance, it’s important that you have someone on your side and representing your best interests to ensure that you receive what’s fair and due to you from your insurance company.
Many people do not know what a public adjuster is or what they do until after a disaster has happened and they’ve already begun dealing with their insurance company on their own – which means they are potentially leaving money on the table – money that they are due by virtue of having insurance for their property to begin with.
And while you may think you can handle it yourself, that can be a very expensive and stressful lesson to learn while you’re still dealing with the after effects of a hail storm, may not be able to live in your own home or work at your business, and may have lost many of your possessions.
Chances are that you are not well-versed in the intricacies of insurance policies, and why should you be? Imagine handing your tax information to the IRS and waiting for them to give you a refund or a bill. Most will seek a tax expert to get the proper legal deductions and then send their tax information off to the IRS. Relax (as much as you can) and let the professionals handle it while you focus on rebuilding your business and property after the hailstorm.
Lastly, a public adjuster has access to whole network of professionals including forensic meteorologists, construction consultants, structural engineers, roofing engineers and building envelope experts who know how to identify and quantify the proper scope of repair and the cost to properly restore your property.
What Do You Do Post-Hailstorm?
After a hailstorm, you’ll need to assess the damage once the property is secured, document it, and connect with a public adjuster who can help represent your claim to the insurance company.
Being proactive in showing the insurance company how you made all the possible good faith efforts to protect your assets will help your public adjuster show how there is no reason to reduce your hailstorm damage insurance claim.
It’s also helpful to document the hailstorm while it’s happening if you happen to be at your property or place of business – the more supporting evidence and information you can gather to help your public adjuster and their team, the better.
Safeguarding your property against further damage by putting tarps or similar protective coverings over the roof, siding, or vehicles, board up any broken windows, etc. – and documenting that you did – is also a good idea and required which is stated in your insurance policy.
Being proactive in showing the insurance company how you made all the possible good faith efforts to protect your assets will help your public adjuster show how there is no reason to reduce your hailstorm damage insurance claim. That said, you should avoid making any permanent repairs until you have your insurance payout since you’ll need to show evidence of the initial hailstorm damage.
Preparation Is Key
Note that everything you do prior to a hail storm can help you maximize the value of your claim and mitigate the potential damage from a hail storm.
From documenting your business property (and keeping that documentation in multiple safe places – separate hard drives, a cloud account, etc.) to understanding what a public adjuster is and what they can do for you in the event of a hail storm and siding and roof damage, understanding what you need to do before, during, and after a hail storm is of utmost importance to ensuring you protect your assets as a business and property owner.
Remember that while a public adjuster can be your best advocate after a hail storm, being prepared beforehand is going to save you – and them – plenty of time, effort, and energy. Hailstorms can come out of nowhere and the amount of damage can be shocking, but with preparation and a good public adjuster in your corner, you can minimize your stress and maximize the positive outcome. If you’ve experienced a hail storm and are unclear of any damage, contact our experienced public adjusters to help you assess any hail storm damage.
Our condo association suffered a loss from Hurricane Irma and we filed a claim a week later thinking we would have no issues as it’s a Hurricane it’s pretty cut and dry. Well it was far from that. Our insurance company stalled and stalled for 8 months and thanks to Paramount working diligently on our claim they secured us with a 2.1 Million dollar settlement just four months later. Thank you Paramount