If you have lived in mid-Missouri for any length of time, you have probably experienced a hail storm. They typically happen around here a few times every year with hail season coming to an end in October. It’s fairly easy to see if you have hail damage to the exterior of your vehicle, but what about the roof of your house? The agents at Kasmann Insurance would like to shed a little sunlight on this subject for you.
The whole purpose of insuring your property is to protect you against financial loss in the event of a disaster. When a weather event causes significant property damage, and claims are expected to reach at least $25 million, the insurance industry deems the event a “catastrophe”. There are typically 30-35 catastrophes nationwide per year, with hail damage reaching nearly $1 billion. The residents of Missouri have been affected by an average of 5 catastrophes each year since 2010, alone.
Have you called around to get a homeowner’s insurance quote in the past few years? If so, one of the first questions an agent will ask is how old the roof of your home is. You may think the foundation is the most important part of your home’s construction, but insurance companies will argue that it is the roof. Roofs are what hold the walls together, what protects everything underneath, and what takes the hardest hit in a severe hail storm. Your insurance carrier is more than likely tracking the age of the roof on your house. You may find that even though you have replacement cost coverage on your home, once your roof reaches a pre-determined age (set forth by each individual company), it may only qualify for a depreciated settlement, or “actual cash value”.
If you suspect there might be damage to your roof after a recent hail storm, you may think the first call you should make is to the Kasmann Agency. Barring visible holes in the roof and water leaking in your home, there are a few steps you should take before calling the office. You may be wondering why, because isn’t that what your Kasmann Insurance Agent is there for?! If you call them to “send an adjuster out” to simply check your roof for damage, a claim has to be filed under your policy. The presence of a claim, even if no money was actually paid out, could cause an increase in your insurance rates for the next 3-5 years.
The agents at Kasmann Insurance are always thinking ahead with your best interest in mind. Knowing that catastrophes are common in Missouri each year, and knowing that the presence of claims can affect your policy, your agent is merely trying to protect you and your premium. What if, during the next big thunderstorm, much more severe hail damages your siding and windows? Or a tree falls on your house? Or lightning strikes and causes a fire? What if you have a grease fire in your kitchen? What if your water line breaks to your ice maker? The fact is there are a lot of “what ifs” and your Kasmann Agent is always looking ahead in case the next loss is much more substantial. The presence of a $0 paid claim will be weighed along with any other losses present on the policy, and to insurance companies, frequency equals severity.
There are a couple of steps you can take if you suspect there is hail damage on your roof. First, check the trees and plants surrounding your home. Do they have any foliage damage? Second, look at your gutters to determine if there are any dents or cracking, and check inside to see if any granules from your roofing shingles have collected in them (hail will cause granules to break loose or fall off).
If you feel safe and secure getting on your roof, there are a few more things you can check up there. It may be difficult to tell if the shingles themselves are damaged, but you can check the vents and flashing, since metal tends to show more visible damage. One other thing to inspect is the roof cap. Because they are flat, roof caps take a harder hit and may show damage you are unable to see on shingles.
If you find any of the above mentioned damage, the next step you will want to take is to call a roofer. Do not accept a bid from anyone who is going through your neighborhood knocking door-to-door. These are typically storm chasing roofing operations that are only in town as long as the work keeps them here. If you have any problems with your roof in the future, these companies will be long gone and may be impossible to contact. Always choose a local, reputable, and insured roofing company. If you need suggestions, please call your agent and he/she will be happy to recommend some respectable companies to you.
So, when exactly do you call the Kasmann Agency? If a roofer has determined that you have significant hail damage to your roof and has given you a written estimate for repair or replacement, you will want to call the office at this point to file a claim. You will be advised of your policy deductible and the loss will be reported to your insurer, which will warrant an inspection by an insurance adjuster.
Please note: Just because your neighbors are getting new roofs after a storm, does not necessarily mean your roof needs to be replaced. Again, please contact a roofer to determine if your specific roof has damage. Every roof and every situation is unique. A variety of factors could be involved, including the age of the shingles, the quality of the roofing materials used, if prior hail damage is present, and finally, the orientation of the house in relation to the direction of the storm may have allowed it to escape damage.
We want our customers to know we always have their best outcome in mind when offering claims or roof advice. We do not want your premiums to increase, or your policy to be jeopardized due to the presence of an unsubstantiated claim. If you suspect you have hail damage, and need someone to inspect your roof, let Kasmann Insurance Agency recommend reliable, local roofers to call. If you have any questions about your homeowner’s coverages, deductible(s), or if you need to file a claim, feel free to contact our office. We’re only a phone call away!