It is storm season in the DFW Area and there have been some whoppers in the last few weeks, with some hail storms producing softball or golf ball-sized hail. If your home has been hit by hail, you may be concerned that there has been damage to your roof that needs to be repaired…You could be right. If so, there are some specific things you can do to protect yourself and to give yourself the best chance of succeeding in what can sometimes be a battle with your insurance carrier to recover for damage to your property caused by a hail storm, windstorm, or other storm.
If your home is hit by hail that is 3/4″ or larger, your roof may have sustained damage and you may need to make a claim on your homeowner’s insurance policy. If so, there are a few things you can do to collect and preserve evidence to validate your claim, which could be helpful in succeeding if your insurance carrier denies the claim or takes the position that your roof did not sustain enough damage to warrant a claim for repairs or replacement.
Preserving Evidence of the Hail Storm
First, if you are home during the hail storm, take video of the storm. Most folks have a cell phone with HD resolution at their fingertips these days and if so, this will make the job of documenting the storm very simple. Take video of the hail as it hits that is sufficient to document the size of the stones and the time and duration of the hail hitting your home. Make a note of the date and time the hail hit your home and how long the hail lasted.
Second, if the stones are large, once the hail subsides, go out into your yard and collect a few of the larger stones. Take some still photos of them along with something like a coin or a golf ball next to the hail stone to give scale and show the relative size of the hail stone. Once you have completed your photo documentation, take the larger stones, put them in a zip lock bag, and put them in your freezer.
If you were not home at the time of the hail storm or you were asleep, but are told there was significant hail in your neighborhood, ask your neighbors if any of them saw the hail or took photos. Ask if they have made claims on their insurance policy and what the outcome was. If you are still unsure whether there was hail in your area or how to demonstrate that to the satisfaction of your insurance carrier, you can also try searching various weather databases that report the size and seriousness of storms throughout the United States. While there are many “pay-per-search databases out there, the National Climatic Data Center maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is free and most often contains reasonably detailed information on specific storms. It uses reported data for specific locations and includes information on hail storms, wind storms, tornados, and other storms. You simply plug in your address and the type of storm you are concerned with locating and it will show the data for specific locations. NOAA’s database is located at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov .
In addition, local news websites often contain photos or video of storms, hail, wind and even tornadoes sent in by homeowners from particular storms in your area. In the North Texas area try
If your insurance carrier should have paid your insurance claim, but did not, or if they did not offer enough to resolve your claim, under the Texas Insurance Code, they are be liable for an 18% penalty in addition to what is owed on the claim, and if you have you have hire an attorney to get your claim resolved, the insurance company will be required to pay your attorneys fees.
If your home or other property has been damaged by hail, wind or other weather and you can’t get your insurance carrier to pay, contact the lawyers at J. Thomas Law Firm. Click here to request your free case review, or call us at 817-442-2410.