Spring time often means strong storms, often causing damage to your home! Please take a quick minute to read this high-level summary of information about storms, and how your policy could affect your claims outcome! Even if you are not one of our clients, please take some time to read this, it could apply to your homeowner’s policy too.
Reporting a Weather Related Claim
Several companies have shortened the timeline in which you can file claims for windstorm and hail events. Some companies have a reporting window as short as six (6) months!! Insurance companies have the ability to track the dates of storms and wind events. This lets them know exactly when damage could have occurred.
We would advise everyone to take a picture of the front and back of your home, at least twice a year to document the condition of your house. Please be sure to include your roof in the picture! It is VERY important that you inspect your home within a few days of any high winds and/or a hailstorm. If you notice any shingles that curled (no longer flat) or missing shingles, you may want to have a creditable roofing contractor inspect your roof. There should be no charge for this.
Ways your policy could affect a claim
Aside from the time to report a claim, two (2) common policy provisions that may affect the outcome of your claim are, Loss Settlement Provision and Wind/Hail Deductibles. These coverages may have been selected on your policy – either by your choice or dictated by your company
The loss settlement provision of your policy determines how the company settles your claim. The two most common on homeowner’s policies are Actual Cash Value (ACV) and Replacement Cost (RC). Replacement Cost means the company would NOT depreciate your claim based on the age of your home, certain building components (such as your roof and siding), and/or your contents. If you have Replacement Cost coverage on all components of your policy, a company would pay what it costs to replace the item with a NEW item of like kind and quality. Actual Cash Value means the company WILL depreciate your claim based on the age of the object involved in the claim. An example of a roof claim with Actual Cash Value loss settlement: You have a 20-year shingle, and your roof is 10 years old. Your roof has “lived” 50% of its lifespan. Your claim would be depreciated, or reduced, by 50%!
Many companies are now automatically converting their policies to include ACV loss settlement on roofs and siding once they reach a certain age. You may have the option to “buy-back” Replacement Cost coverage. Please read and review your policy. Do not wait until you have a claim to find out you have Actual Cash Value loss settlement. This could cost you thousands of dollars! If you have any questions about your policy, do not hesitate to contact your agent.
Having a Wind/Hail deductible means you could pay a different deductible for a loss caused by wind or hail. This deductible is typically higher than your base-policy deductible. The deductible could be a flat dollar amount or a percentage of your dwelling limit. These higher deductibles could cost you thousands in the event of a claim. Some companies mandate a wind/hail deductible. Policyholders may have the option to “buy-back” the lower deductible for very little change in premium. Please read your policy. If you have more than one deductible listed, check with your agent to see if you could elect an all-peril deductible.
Have you replaced your roof and/or siding due to age, cosmetic reasons, or because of a claim? Please make sure you tell your agent! The age of your roof often affects your premium. If you have a newer roof, you could qualify for a discount! The age of your roof could also determine if a company changes your coverage from Replacement Cost to Actual Cash Value. This often happens with a letter, or blurb on your renewal policy. That is why it is important to review your policy each year and stay in touch with your agent as you make improvements!
One last thing about roofs…. I tried to highlight some points above to help put you in a good position in the event of a claim. We also wanted to point out, this information is also critically important to consider when shopping your insurance. Many agents and companies will use these details in their quotes to lower their prices. Do not look at the bottom-line price and think you are getting the same coverage! Please make sure you examine quotes thoroughly or have a trusted advisor evaluate your quotes! We will always help you evaluate your options, and help you reach an informed decision.
Since we are now in severe weather season….
Have you downloaded the Red Cross Tornado app to your smartphone? This is like a weather-radio but in the convenience of an app on your smartphone so you can take it with you everywhere you go. You can also set up locations for your loved ones so you know if there is severe weather in their area. Their notifications are completely customizable – even by each location you choose to monitor. I love this app!
A few other quick home tips:
- Trim back trees away from your home!
- Make sure your gutters are clean and can handle heavy rains!
- Bring in flags, furniture, trash cans and umbrellas so they don’t damage you or your neighbor’s home or vehicles! (Don't be this guy!)