Just Built Your New Home in Dallas-Fort Worth and Have Hail Damage? How to Proceed
While there are many great new home communities in North Texas, unfortunately, most people including builder sales consultants won’t go into detail about the perilous weather in Texas if you’re from out of state. It can be disheartening to move from a place with mild weather and then have $10,000 worth of damage in the first year you move to Frisco, Prosper, Rowlett or other places that have been hit hard in the past. Most residents take it in stride and consider it a cost of living being in North Texas. If you haven’t moved here already, I tell people to be honest with yourself on whether you can mentally and financially bear having to replace a 20-year roof every 2-3 years. It sounds crazy, but this has been the reality for some since 2014.
It’s only the end of March and there will be many more hailstorms in Texas this year. Here’s what you should know:
Take an hour (or two) to really read and understand your home owner’s insurance policy. Most agents want to keep your business, so if you have questions, write them down and send them an email so you have your concerns addressed in writing.
After a hailstorm, always do your own visual inspection the very next day or as soon as possible – start at your front door and walk a circle around the house and make a list:
DON’T GO ON THE ROOF but look up from the street to see if any shingles are missing; also look at the vents and see if they are damaged/dented.
SHOULD YOU CALL YOUR INSURANCE AGENT?
Before calling a general contractor (GC) or roofer talk to your agent (NOT the claims hotline). Many agents can at least answer general questions without documenting it as an official claim. You pay thousands a year for insurance advice so use a phone call, but remember to still have your list of damages in an email in case you need to send it later.
NOTE: There is a big difference between calling your agent who may have given you their personal cell phone because they live in the neighborhood versus calling the 1-800 line of your big insurance company. Calling the 1-800 claims number will most likely get your call recorded in the CLUE database even if you decide to not file a claim. It’s the insurance company’s way of creating a history on your property that there may have been damage around a specific date. If you are unsure, you may want to talk to a reputable GC or roofer first who can give you a rough idea on costs to fix. Then you can decide whether it’s even worth it to bring the insurance company into the picture.
IF YOU DO CALL THE CLAIMS DEPARTMENT
Any adjuster coming out to your place will be recorded in your report. Insurance companies have strict policies in which to adhere to. They take measurements on the roof and there has to be so many indentations within that area to file a claim. They might only replace half the roof facing the direction the hail came from. Ideally you can walk with the claims adjuster and watch what they are looking for and then compare what you have listed versus what they found. Don’t be afraid to mention something they missed or suggest something (age of fence or if you just had it restained, or new paint on siding).
SELECTING A GC/ROOFER
Once the claims adjuster has been out, you know what’s to be repaired, replaced based on what they will cover.
REMEMBER, THE SEASON JUST STARTED
We are at the beginning of the spring storm season so it’s not a bad idea to just wait if your damage is minor before filing a formal claim. Every separate claim is a new deductible.
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