Hail is a “Thing” in Colorado! Do you have the right insurance coverages?

Andrea Lunzer
Andrea Lunzer
Published on September 24, 2018

What the Hail is going on? Is the Hail getting worse? No where in the US gets more hail then the front range. After all we are known as Hail Alley. Experts are saying the hail is getting worse. Whether or not you label it a golfball or softball, it is a mess and very destructive. Hail starts falling in May and June, and comes to end in September. The faster a hailstorm is, the worse the damage. Hailstorms cause around 10 billion in damages annually nationwide. Colorado ranks 4th in the US for hail damage at 271 million!

Provided by State Farm

Why does this happen in Colorado? Colorado’s mix of high altitude and dry air is the perfect combo for large hail. In order for these large hail balls to form, strong, dry winds have to carry water up and up to the higher, colder parts of the atmosphere and hold them there. The largest recorded hail ball in Colorado is 4.5 inches in diameter. That can cause some serious damage to cars, houses, people and pets.

Coming from a state where there are no major weather threats, its challenging to know how this impacts you and what you need to do about it. I was definitely naive in the facts when it came to insurance. I really trusted my insurance carrier to set up my policy. I do understand deductibles and knew $1000 was a standard home policy deductible. Where I was caught with my pants down is when it came to the roof. One may assume its the same deductible………not necessarily. My policy was set up with a 1% deductible of what the insurance company decided to value my house at. This is just for wind and hail damage. Everything else on the roof is $1000 deductible. You can see why that may be concerning?  How do they come up with the number they value your house at? Time to ask some tough questions. For example, my house is valued by insurance at 598,000. So my deductible for my roof is now $5980. That’s a far cry from $1000….right? My purchase price 2 years ago was 489K. What would the value have been if I would have known and made the deductible $1000? I will never really know!  The explanation I received for the value being 598K was the cost of labor and cost and goods to rebuild my house. Check into your insurance policy and ask questions. I was thankful that Curtis from Storm Contracting Solutions came out. He not only knows a lot about roofing, but how insurance works. He tasked me with digging in and asking some great questions.

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The other place where I was taken advantage of was on the age of the roof. We had purchased the home and received a full inspection. I saved money if I submitted that inspection to my insurance carrier, so I did! They asked the age of the roof and I said I had no idea-that is where I went wrong. They took it upon themselves to age the roof to the age of the house. A simple phone call to the city to see when a permit was last pulled for the roof would have cleared everything up, but I had no idea.  New homeowners, you want to do this. Go on the city of Longmont’s website and you can search your property or call. They will be able to search the data base and see if and when the last permit was taken to replace the roof. Bam! you now have a record of proof that you can send over to your insurance carrier. After recently chatting with another agent, he acknowledged and appologized for the agent that set up my policy and said he/she should have given me better guidance. So for the first 2 years, I was paying a premium for a roof that was aged 17 years. Through my insurance, they have 2 types of coverage on a roof, a Full replacement and an endorsement. You do not want an endorsement. Full replacement means they cover everything minus your deductible. An endorsement kicks in after the roof hits 15 years old and as a result, you pay your deductible in addition to a depreciated cost on the roof. Not what you want!

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Good News! You can fix it. Before I submitted my claim, I called the city and pulled the permit. I immedietly emailed that document to my insurance and asked that they back date the updated roof age of to the inception of the policy, provide a refund for overcharges (by the way it was a $45 refund) and to reinstate and backdate the full replacement coverage for the roof. After some back and forth, I asked them to email all the details to me in writting. Once I had that, I filed a claim. Hopefully this will get you thinking about coverages so it wont come to this point.

I am not going to go into the claim itself, but make sure your roofer has your back. Curtis from Storm Contracting Solutions is the person you want. I always advise getting 3 estimates and then going with who you feel good with. We had 3 and felt that Storm Contracting Solutions was not only the most honest, but also wanted to make sure we had representation of the actual damage on our property. If you have wind or hail damage, its not going to be isolated to the roof. This is where Curtis stepped in and helped us identify the “Collateral Damage” from the storm. In the end, we had $4700 in damage outside of a full replacement on the roof. These are items like BBQ’s, patio lights, planters, solar ground lights, furniture, siding, fencing, gutters and downspouts. Now are we going to go out and buy a new BBQ for a small dent, no! That means we can use that money to pay down our deductible. In the end you need to figure out what you definitely want and need fixed to make your house whole again. The rest of the money you can use to offset your deductible! It’s not as bad as it initially seemed! Please reach out if you have any questions. I am a borderline Expert now!

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